Caldwell Fork Loop – Friends of the Smokies

Woody House
Woody House

To cancel or not to cancel? That is always a difficult question when the weather forecast promises thunderstorms as well as rain all day. Friends of the Smokies says that we go “rain or shine” but thunderstorms always gives us pause. Thankfully, I am just a “consultant” on that decision.

So the April hike to Caldwell Fork in Great Smoky Mountains National Park was postponed until this week – on Earth Day, of all days. I was very happy to see thirteen hikers on Wednesday, including three new members.

Big poplars on Caldwell Fork Trail
Big poplars on Caldwell Fork Trail

I wrote about the hike in detail when we scouted it last month. What was different this time were the profusion of flowers. White  violets were at the trailhead. Then more violets of all shades, several types of trillium, phacelias …. Some hikers were taking pictures of every flower we identified while others used flowers as an excuse for a break.

We stopped at the Union cemetery on Caldwell Fork Trail. Two grave stones cover three bodies, according to Hiking Trail of the Smokies. The sun was so  strong that I couldn’t get a good picture of the stones. The best place for lunch is always the Big Poplars.

20150423FOTS2015Caldwellfork 016AAnna Lee, dressed in her smart new dark blue FOTS shirt, gave a brief talk about a couple of projects that Friends of the Smokies supports. Several people asked about volunteering for trail work on the Trails Forever program. That is so gratifying to me. Another regular hiker had just joined the Clingmans Dome volunteer group. We need you all.

Water laid on the Caldwell Fork Trail in several places. I was very concerned that a hiker took off her shoes to wade across in bare feet. That is so dangerous. You never know what is down there that you can’t see.

Then the ending highlight – the Woody House on Rough Fork Trail. We loitered around the house like we had just moved in. See the top picture. But wait, that wasn’t the only highlight. Holly Demuth, Director of North Carolina FOTS office, walked to the Woody House and gave us a little pitch about Friends.

We’ll be leading the next hike on Tuesday, May 12. To register for a Classic Hike of the Smokies, contact

One thought on “Caldwell Fork Loop – Friends of the Smokies

  1. I had such a wonderful time on this hike. Thank you Danny for helping all of us identify the beautiful wildflowers along the trail. I would have to say seeing the showy orchis was my favorite!

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