Forney Ridge – Rehabbed forever

Forney Ridge - Christine, Hannah, Tobias

I made good use of my day in the Smokies. I scouted the Friends of the Smokies hike in the morning and went up to Clingmans Dome in the afternoon.

It was foggy, dark and cold by the time Hannah and I parked. We walked to the Clingmans Dome Information Center and found a group of workmen installing an exhibit on the history and natural history of the “top of old Smokies.” I was pleased that they included the Mountains-to-Sea Trail.Clingmans Dome exhibits

We met Christine Hoyer and Tobias Miller at the start of Forney Ridge trail. The picture above is (from left to right) Christine, Hannah, and Tobias.

We all walked down to Andrews Bald while they showed us the major work that was done to rehabilitate the trail.

Forney Ridge - Before pictureChristine had before pictures of Forney Ridge. I remember it as wet, slippery and rocky.

And I never thought anything about it. I was up above 6,000 feet and I was happy to have a trail at all.

Forney Ridge - Stairway to the domeBut now, using money from the Trails Forever program, and using volunteers, the trail has been completely redone. This project took five park employees and five volunteers over three seasons to work on the 1.8 mile trail. They moved rocks, trees, and gravel to create a “stairway to the Dome.” And they did it all without closing the trail.

These small pictures can’t do justice to the improvements that hikers will see. A wonderful job on top of old Smokies.

If you want to see the trail for yourself, don’t wait too long. Clingmans Dome Road closes December 1.

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