BMT: Segment 22c (Lower Noland Creek Trail)
ElevationAscent: 1,329' 405 m
Descent: -4' -1 m
High: 3,170' 966 m
Low: 1,841' 561 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 14% (8°)
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“The section of the Benton MacKaye Trail from Noland Creek Trail to Campsite #62.”— Richard Harris
In 1934 it took ten men from Deep Creek CCC one month drilling through solid rock to construct the Upper Noland Creek Trail.
There are several potentially dangerous creek crossings along Noland Creek Trail. Don't cross a stream unless you are confident you can make the crossing. Wear shoes to protect your feet. If you lose your footing try to float down the stream feet first and protect your head. The streams can run dangerously high after heavy rains or snow melt.
Trail Description: The Noland Creek Trail travels up the creek on an old railroad bed up to Noland Divide, climbing 2500 feet over about 9 miles. Take the connector trail from the parking area down to the trail below the bridge on the Road to Nowhere at mile 229.5. Begin your journey running upstream from below the bridge. Soon past the overhead bridge, the trail travels upstream to Bearpen Branch Campsite #65 at mile 230.8. Just past this site cross a boulder field then cross Indian Creek at mile 231.3. Then pass through a white pine forest and over another bridge across Noland Creek and enter Solola Valley, a once thriving little community. Cross another bridge, and at mile 233.6 you come to Mill Creek Campsite #64. The Springhouse Branch Trail also comes in here from the Forney Ridge Trail upslope to the west. Cross the creek twice more on narrow foot logs then come to Jerry Flats Campsite #63 at mile 235.1. After leaving the campsite, you soon cross Noland Creek twice, once on a foot log, then via a deep ford which can be dangerous at high water. Upper Ripshin Campsite #62 at mile 236.4. Just above the campsite, you must ford Upper Ripshin Creek then Noland Creek itself, so with these fords both above and below, Campsite #62, this might be a good place to camp for the night.
Campsites: Camping is available at several campsites along Noland Creek in this section, including Bearpen Branch Campsite #65 at mile 230.8, Mill Creek Campsite #64 at mile 233.6, Jerry Flats Campstie #63 at mile 235.1, and Upper Ripshin Campsite #63.
Water Sources: Water is available from Noland Creek at all campsites and many other sites along the trail.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been called the "Salamander Capital of the World." Climatic and geologic factors have combined to spur the development of 30 salamander species in five families, making this one of the most diverse areas on earth for this order.
The botanist Andrew Michaux traveled through the southern Appalachians in the 1790's and identified American ginseng as a plant that had medicinal value. He taught mountain people how to prepare the root so that it could be sold to the Chinese. Wild harvesting the root of the Ginseng or "Sang" became a way to earn cash money for the residents of the area. Over the generations so much of the wild ginseng has been harvested that it is now protected by law.
The Noland Creek area has lots of salamanders and ginseng.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park