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Smoky Mountain Day Hikes

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Jun 4th, 2014, 06:29 AM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2009
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Smoky Mountain Day Hikes

I have been to the Smoky Mountains several times and my husband and I have just gained an interest in hiking. We have hiked Alum Cave, Charlies Bunion, Rainbow Falls, Andrews Bald and Chimney Tops. We are saving Ramsey Cascade when our daughters can join us later in the summer. We are thinking about going down again in a week or two and would like to do another hike. We are in our early 50s but not terribly out of shape. Any recommendations on day hikes that are a must see not any more than ten miles long round trip. Thank You for any suggestions. We also want to ride bikes around Cades Cove. I notice they close it to car traffic early Wed and Sat mornings. This sounds peaceful and a great way to enjoy the loop. Thanks again for any info and I will be looking forward to your suggestions.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 07:20 AM
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Take a look at this website:

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/

It's the best hiking resource for the Smokies that I've seen. You've already named some of my favorites (including Ramsey Cascades, but I think some of it depends on where you're staying. Since you're going in the summer, I would look for hikes that are a bit off the beaten path. I like the Greenbriar section myself (where the Cascades are). Another hike we liked that is easily reached from Townsend is Rich Mountain. If memory serves, it's 8 miles roundtrip. In looking at that website, talk a look at the Sugarland Mountain (upper and lower) hikes. During peak times at the park, I gravitate toward hikes that are descrbed as quiet or secluded, with the hope of escaping the worst of the crowds.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 10:20 AM
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Abram Falls in Cades Cove is a good one. I also like Laurell Falls and Grotto Falls. Laurell and Grotto are both short and easy. Abram is a bit longer but still fairly easy. All 3 of them together wouldn't make 10 miles.

Mount LeConte and spending the night there is a good option.
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Jun 4th, 2014, 10:36 AM
  #4
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I forgot to mention we have done Abrams Falls too. I do like that one. It has a nice fall and lunch spot. Thank you guys for your input. I love this site for information. Keep the ideas coming.
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Jun 11th, 2014, 12:53 PM
  #5
 
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If you can time it just right, you absolutely need to hike to Gregory Bald when the flame azalea are in bloom. It usually happens in late June/early July. People come from all over the country to see the entire mountain top covered in flame azaleas of all colors.

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/gregory.htm
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Jun 30th, 2014, 11:13 AM
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We did Grotto Falls two years ago. DH and I were in our mid 50's and not in great shape, but it was very enjoyable.
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Jul 4th, 2014, 05:51 PM
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If you are set on biking the Cove, please do so at the time when it is closed to automobile traffic. Also, the Cove road is not flat, so unless you are experienced, walking your bike may be necessary.

A little something different: Have you been to Fontana? The AT comes off Shuckstack Mountain and crosses Fontana Dam. The Dam is just a short distance from the Village. You can drive to it, walk across and up the AT. There used to be a fire tower that I climbed once.
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Jul 5th, 2014, 10:10 AM
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I wouldn't consider Cades Cove flat either, but I don't think you would need a lot of experience. Most of the hills aren't much at all, IMOP. I see kids age 8 riding there all the time. I think most people in reasonable shape would be fine riding it.
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Jul 7th, 2014, 06:14 PM
  #9
 
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Spiro, I don't know of anyone I would trust more with US NP info on Fodor's! I just remember a crash at the bottom of one of those hills. No way would I let DW ride off and break her neck at the bottom. At our ages (similar to OP's), we don't heal so quickly.
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Jul 7th, 2014, 07:23 PM
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That's why I always put IMOP(in my opinion). I'm 47 and I wouldn't even give it a second thought about doing it.

I don't know if they always have them there or not, but I'm pretty sure a few volunteers are stationed along the way every couple of miles or so on the days that the road is closed to cars. Perhaps this is only during fall foliage, I'm not sure. Pretty serious riders could easily ride the entire thing in 30-45 minutes. I wouldn't suggest doing that, but taking time and plan on 2-3 hours and a slower paced ride.

One more thing. Personally, I wouldn't rent the bicycles there, I would bring my own bike. I would go on the days when the road is closed to cars. I like to ride when it is cooler(50-70 degrees). It also seems to me that early morning is the most foggy and Cades Cove is one of the more foggy places in Smokeys(not always though).

Also, there is a road(although dirt) that you can take to pretty much cut your time/mileage in half if you feel like your getting.

Finally, you can search "cades cove bicycle" on youtube and get a pretty good idea of what the road is like.
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Jul 8th, 2014, 10:34 AM
  #11
 
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I think the OP may have taken her trip (it was indicated in the original post in early June that they were thinking of going in a week or two), but I'd add a couple bits of additional information to the cycling in Cade's Cove discussion. The loop is only closed to vehicular traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, April through the end of Septmeber, until 10 a.m. If you're staying in or near Townsend, it's easy enough to get to Cade Cove, but otherwise, it can be a bit of a drive to get there, so factor that into your arrival time.
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