Points of Interest along this section:
This section covers from the Smokemont Campground Bridge Parking Lot just off US 441 to the Hughes Ridge Trail
junction with the Chasteen Creek Trail
. Smokemont, a contraction for Smoky Mountains, was originally a lumber company village for the Champion Fibre Company, first called Bradleytown for the Bradley family who settled the area, then later called Luftee, for the Oconaluftee River which runs through the area. As a lumber company town, the area was abandoned in 1939, after the area was purchased for the development of the GSMNP. Now the area is a busy national park campground. The Primitive Baptist Church dates back to those early years.
At the bridge over the river, the entrance to the Smokemont Campground at mile 254.7, the BMT heads straight up the hill to the Primitive Baptist Church, skirts the campground, then turns north (left) meeting the Bradley Fork Trail
at mile 256.4. Backcountry permits can be obtained using the phone at the Backcountry Registration kiosk at the entrance to the campground. The Bradley Fork Trail
is a gently rising old roadbed along the stream. At mile 257.1 the Chasteen Creek Trail
junction is reached. Turn right onto this trail, and soon you'll reach the Lower Chasteen Creek Campsite #50 at mile 257.2. The lower one mile of this trail is often muddy. At mile 257.8 there is a side trail to a Chasteen Creek Cascade. Soon thereafter, the trail begins to climb steadily on a narrow hill-hugging trail. Upper Chasteen Creek Campsite #48 at mile 259.4. The trail continues to climb steeply to Hughes Ridge Trail
and the intersection with the Hughes Ridge Trail
at mile 261.1.
Smokemont is a developed campground for vehicular use. Reservations are highly recommended and may be made online at recreation.gov
or by calling 877-444-6777. A phone for contacting the Backcountry Reservations Desk is available in the campground at the ranger station. The Lower Chasteen Creek Campsite #50 (reservations required) is at mile 257.2, the Upper Chasteen Creek Campsite #48 is at mile 259.4.
Water is available at the campsites and numerous places along the creek. Once the Chasteen Creek Trail
leaves the creek and heads toward to top of the ridge, water is scarce.