Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Boogerman Trail and Big Fork Ridge Trail, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
The Cataloochee Valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a place where beauty and history mingle together. By the mid 1800s, there were several settlements in the valley, the remains of which we can still see today. The mountains around the Cataloochee Valley are home to areas of gorgeous old-growth forest, where tall trees tower proudly into the sky in areas that have never been logged. On this hike, you will first hike along the Caldwell Fork - a picturesque mountain stream - before taking the Boogerman Trail past some of the area's most remarkable trees, as well as a couple of significant historic points, including an old cemetery and an old stone wall. You will then follow the Big Fork Ridge Trail across a low ridge that separates the Caldwell Fork valley from the Cataloochee Valley, before concluding the hike along Cataloochee Road and seeing several more historical points of interest. If you're lucky, you might also spot the renowned Cataloochee elk. This hike occurred on Saturday, October 1st, 2016. My plan was to hike the Caldwell Fork Trail to the lower Boogerman Trail junction, from where I would follow the Boogerman Trail to its end farther up on the Caldwell Fork Trail. I would then take the Caldwell Fork Trail to the Big Fork Ridge Trail, which I would follow to Cataloochee Road. I would finish the hike by walking Cataloochee Road back to the trailhead.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Purchase Road to Purchase Knob & Cataloochee Divide Trail - Purchase Knob to Hemphill Bald, Maggie Valley, North Carolina
The Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is an overlooked and very scenic region. Cataloochee Divide marks the eastern boundary of GSMNP in this area, separating Cataloochee Valley and Maggie Valley. Cataloochee Divide Trail might be one of the most spectacular trail in the entire park, if hiked during winter. Views sprout in all directions. However, the section described here is a good hike even during summer, with amazing views from Hemphill Bald and Purchase Knob. Along the way back, take a minute to stop at and explore the Ferguson Cabin located just below Purchase Knob. This hike occurred on Thursday, December 25th, 2014. My plan was to park at the gate on Purchase Road, and then hike up Purchase Road to Purchase Knob. From there, I would pick up the Cataloochee Divide Trail and follow it past the The SWAG to Hemphill Bald. I would retrace my steps back, but instead of climbing back up Purchase Knob, I would shortcut it using the Ferguson Cabin Trail.
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