This has been a horrific week in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and in the gateway communities of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The park has been closed tight, something that I’ve not seen since I’ve been paying attention to park issues.
But now we hear that at least some of the North Carolina side of the park is open. It’s important that we get out there to show support and solidarity with the park.
Friends of the Smokies is leading a hike on Tuesday December 6 to Chasteen Creek Falls. It’s an easy to moderate out-and-back hike (7.5 miles, 1,200 feet of altitude).
We’ll hike along Bradley Fork and Chasteen Creek Trails. We’ll marvel at the changing leaf color and explore a tumbling waterfall. Since the waterfall isn’t right on the trail, many hikers miss it as they climb up Chasteen Creek Trail. I led this hike last month for Carolina Mountain Club and know that, even in the middle of the worst drought, there was water in the falls. It ought to be flowing now.
We’ll hike to the campsite for lunch and go back the same way.
After the hike, we’ll go to Oconaluftee Visitor Center (OVC) for some holiday shopping. Great Smoky Mountains Association, the park partner that manages the bookstores in the park, needs our help as well.
Bring your holiday shopping list and do all your shopping locally at OVC. Don’t forget to bring your Friends of the Smokies membership card to receive 15% off.
We will have a small gift for each hiker in attendance in the spirit of the season. If you haven’t registered, please do so online now on the Friends of the Smokies website.
The event will say “Grotto Falls”. Ignore that. The date is correct so just sign up by Sunday evening and you’ll be sent instructions on the meeting time and place.