Hike in Cataloochee with Friends of the Smokies

20140918FOTSscoutprettyhollowgap 009AJoin Friends of the Smokies for a full day of hiking on a Classic Hike deep in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park along Pretty Hollow Gap Trail in Cataloochee Valley on Tuesday, October 14.

We’ll follow this with elk viewing. I’ll be leading this hike, assisted by Anna Lee.

The hike is 8.7 miles in length with a total elevation gain of 1,300 feet and is moderately difficult. It is an out-and-back hike on a horse trail alongside the rushing Palmer and Pretty Hollow Creeks.

As participants hike along Pretty Hollow Gap Trail, they will experience what mountain roads were like 80 years ago winding through the thick tree canopy and rhododendron. Hikers will stop at various creek access points to enjoy the sounds and scenery of the flowing water. They will also experience the rich history of the first settlers in Cataloochee Valley. Hikers will learn about the historical buildings, cemeteries and the annual family reunions honoring the first homesteading families in the Cataloochee area. Donations to Friends of the Smokies help with the maintenance of many of those buildings.

Once hikers return from their hike in the woods and out into Cataloochee Valley, they will be treated to the sights and bugling sounds of elk in rut. During September and October, during mating season, bulls up to 800 pounds compete with one another over cows. Donations to Friends of the Smokies go toward elk management, keeping the valley mowed and open, and supporting the Elk Bugle Corps volunteers who help educate visitors about the elk and how to safely view them.

Classic Hikes of the Smokies are $10 for current members and $35 for non-members who will receive a one-year membership. Members who bring a friend hike for free. All registration donations benefit the Smokies Trails Forever program.

Carpools will leave from Asheville, and Maggie Valley.

To register for this or any upcoming Classic Hike of the Smokies, contact Anna Lee at 828-452-0720.

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