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hardest day hike in the smokies

ky.boy
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hardest day hike in the smokies

I winter hiked rainbow falls up to leconte and then back down the bull head trail last year and it was a challange-i was trying to beat another hikers time-but it was fun.I want to know opinions on what is the hardest day hike in the smokies to start planning for this years winter hike.

thx ahead of time,junktruck

vcv
Tennessee
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1. Re: hardest day hike in the smokies

There is a great little book “Day Hiker’s Guide to All the Trails in the Smoky Mountains” by Elizabeth Etnier (pub. By Singing River Publications). Some of these are 20+ miles long and not what I’d undertake as a day hike, but since the book covers a way of doing all the trails as day hikes, you can probably tell which you’d consider the most difficult. I paid $17.95 for the book plus shipping; it’s only 124 pp. long and the trails are color-coded and well described (though you’d probably want to supplement this guide with more detailed maps or trail descriptions).

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Louisville
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2. Re: hardest day hike in the smokies

We did the Russell Field - Spence Field Loop last year. And just for good measure, we went up to Thunderhead Mountain. In all, we hiked 17 miles that day. Extremely tough hike. I don't think that you could do it in a day with snow on the ground though.

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/russell.htm

www.hikinginthesmokys.com/thunderhead.htm

We also did the Bullhead-Rainbow loop - in the winter with about 8" of snow on the ground in the upper elevations. I thought the Russell-Spence-Thunderhead loop was more difficult.

Jeff

Charlotte NC
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3. Re: hardest day hike in the smokies

I followed Liz Etnier's book "Day Hiker's Guide" when I did my Smokies hiking, and her Hike #2 in the Hazel Creek section was probably the toughest day hike. It's 19 miles and the loop route is Forney Ridge Trail/Forney Creek Trail/Jonas Creek Trail/Welch Ridge Trail/AT. Since it begins and ends at the Clingmans Dome parking lot, you won't be able to get to it for a while.

Etnier's guide has lots of other challenging options and, since it breaks the park down into sections, it is also helpful in designing your own route.

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Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome
2,368 Reviews
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
nashville
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4. Re: hardest day hike in the smokies

i did the math on some of the hardest hikes i could think of (in the park) awhile ago. the toughest overall was the Baxter Creek Trail which gains over 4000 feet in just over 6 miles.

there are tougher stretches of trail, for sure. one that i can think of off-hand is also in Big Creek -- the Chestnut Branch Trail. a section of this trail gains like 1200 feet in less than a mile. (compare this with Chimney Tops, for example, which gains 1400 in two miles).

my hardest day of hiking was either Chestnut Branch up to Mt Cammerer, or the long slog from CS24 up to my car on Clingman's Dome Road.

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Chimney Tops Trail
Chimney Tops Trail
380 Reviews
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
5. Re: hardest day hike in the smokies

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