Kings Meadow Trail #63
ElevationAscent: 2,825' 861 m
Descent: -254' -77 m
High: 5,285' 1,611 m
Low: 2,714' 827 m
GradeAvg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 48% (26°)
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“Steep sections at Snowbird Creek end makes this most easily done from the Cherehola Skyway end via Hooper Bald Trail.”— Uphill Hike
The trail can be broken up into three sections. The first section is a steep ascent from Snowbird Creek. The next section is a typical singletrack skirting peaks and following ridges to Deep Gap. The final section from Deep Gap to a house near Hooper Bald generally follows ridges along logging roads which can be deeply rutted in places.
From the start of the trail near Snowbird Creek, runners will face a steep ascent in the first 1.25 miles with an elevation gain of 1000 feet. A reliable water source which is not visible from trail can be found nearby at Owlcamp Branch about 200 - 300 yards to right of trail.
After the climb, the trail reaches Fire Scald Ridge where it follows along ridge for a moderate run. The narrow trail skirts around west side of a 4,500 foot peak, and gradually descends into Deep Gap. After winding west around a 4,680 foot peak, the trail climbs along Meadow Branch (on the left) for several hundred yards before reaching a gap with littered campsite and an intersecting 4WD road. Reliable water should be found along Meadow Branch.
At the campsite, turn left and begin climbing to King Meadows along washed out 4WD tracks. The trail again skirts to the west of a 5,160 foot peak as it crosses Queen Ridge. The trail eventually comes to an opening with a house, and runners will proceed uphill along the fenced boundary of this property. Follow signs at the gravel road to head back into the woods toward the left.
After a short run, you'll come to a signed trail junction with Mitchell Lick Trail #154. King Meadows Trail turns uphill to the right and becomes overgrown and a little difficult to follow for the next 300 yards. Soon the trail bears left as it crosses a wet forested area with several small streams that are bridged with old split logs. Some areas of the the trail may be overgrown, but the trail is easy to follow.
Next, the trail begins a few switchbacks just before reaching its signed junction with Hooper Bald Trail. Turning right and running for a half mile will bring runners to open meadows and views on the bald at an elevation of 5,430 feet. The parking lot is to the left. From the bald, you can enjoy views of Cherehola Skyway, Maryville, TN in the distance, and neighboring Huckleberry Bald.
For more information about my experiences on this trail and others in the Snowbird area, visit Uphill Hikes.
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Land Manager: USFS - Nantahala National Forest Office