This weekend I went to the Greenbrier area of the park for some hiking.
Here is a brief rundown of the weekend:
Friday – Hike to Ramsey Cascades. 8 miles round trip
Hike to campsite 31 on Porters Creek. 3.7 miles
Saturday – Hike back to the truck, unload over night gear. 3.7 miles
Hike to LeConte Lodge vie Brushy Mt and Trillium Gap Trail 9.1 miles.
Sunday – Hike back to the truck with a side trip up Brushy Mtn. 9.5 miles
Now for the longer, more detailed version. Stopped at the Greenbrier Ranger Station Saturday morning, filled out a camping permit, drove on to the Ramsey Cascades trailhead. Got on the trail about 8:30. It is 4 miles in and 4 miles back. It starts out as a wide trail for service vehicles for about a mile then changes to some rugged & rocky path, but there are lots of stone stairways. The view is well worth the trip. I didn’t see anyone until I was about ˝ mile on the way back. I met more than a dozen people on the way back.
I enjoyed my Subway sandwich (Italian BMT) on the tailgate of my truck before driving over to the trailhead for the Porters Creek trail.
From the parking lot you hike about 1 mile of service road before getting to the trail heads of the 2 different trails. I passed several stone fences and one cemetery on the way.
As with most of the trails on the Smokey’s, Porters Creek is up hill most of the way. There is about 1500’ elevation difference between parking lot and campsite. The camp site is ok, there is a lower and upper campsite, with both having their set of bear cables. Two young men had a tent on the lower part; I set up my hammock and tarp in the upper part. Someone had apparently carried a pumpkin 3.7 miles during Halloween, because there was a jack-o-lantern at my campsite. I was surprised that nothing had tried to eat it; I moved it far away from me, just in case. No major issues other than I had forgotten to bring a fork or spoon; mine was still in the dishwasher. One of the other guys let me borrow one. A big thank you to them. Had an awesome full moon, you really didn’t need a flash light to walk around. It got down to about 32°, but I stayed very warm in my War Bonnet Black Bird hammock and Montbell sleeping bag, Crowsnest UQ and Big Mamba Jamba tarp.
Saturday morning I was on the trail by 8:30. Dumped all my camping gear at my truck, changed clothes, had a snack and headed up to LeConte Lodge, where I had a reservation for the night. Saw a little snow and some ice sickles on the way up. I was in a cabin by 4:00pm which was some hard hiking for me. Nearly 4500’ elevation change, averaging between 500’ and 600’ per mile. Had a good time there, had some good food and got a good nights sleep. The next morning after a big breakfast I started back down Trillium Gap. I took a side trip up to Brushy Mtn. Sign says .2 miles, map says .4, my GPS said .3, so go figure. There are some awesome views up there. There are virtually no trees. Had a good hike down, saw no one on the Brushy Mtn trail both days.
At the end of the service road, near the trailheads are a barn, cabin, spring house and outhouse. They were worth checking out. Had a good time, but will have to wait until next year to do anymore hiking in the Smokey’s. I can’t wait.
Here are a few pics:
Tarp & hammock setup
Using a sleeping bag for a top quilt.
View from Brushy Mtn.
Here is a link to the entire album: