"Autumn - Heintooga Ridge Road" by U.S. National Park Service , public domain

Great Smoky Mountains

Guide Fall 2017

brochure Great Smoky Mountains - Guide Fall 2017
INSIDE WILD FOODS FROM THE FOREST Page 12 RANGER PROGRAMS Pages 6-7 PARK MAP Pages 8-9 VERNON LIX PHOTO BILL LEA PHOTO Th e O f f i c i a l N e w s p a p e r o f G r e a t S m o k y M o u n t a i n s N a t i o n a l P a r k D A u t u m n 2 0 1 7 BLACK BEARS During fall, bears depend Approximately 200 elk now live in the vicinity of the national park. The Fall “Rut” Is On! his autumn, Smoky Mountain elk will be players in a courtship ritual that is one of the great spectacles of the North American animal kingdom. Mature male (bull) elk will compete for control of groups of females called “harems.” Most of the time, the competition between males will be pure showmanship— prancing, bugling, grunting, and other noncontact methods of intimidation. At times, however, the contests may turn deadly serious with bulls using their sharp antlers to attack other males. Bugling is one of the most widely-recognized parts of courtship (called the rut). Bulls toss back their heads and utter a long, loud, sonorous call that can be heard for as much as a mile away. Bugling is a way for bull elk to assert their dominance against rival males as larger bulls usually have deeper, louder calls. The best place to see elk during the rut is Cataloochee Valley or in the vicinity of Oconaluftee Visitor Center. The elk rut begins in Septem- T ber and peaks in early October. Most fields frequented by elk will be closed to the public during the rut, but visitors may observe from pulloffs or other designated areas. Approaching elk or bear closer than 50 yards is strictly prohibited. Male white-tailed deer (bucks) also have some dramatic courtship rituals. They generally stop eating during the rut and will chase or lock antlers with other bucks to determine dominance. Males may also be observed chasing females and making bleating sounds. The white-tailed deer rut lasts from October into January with a peak around Thanksgiving. Cades Cove is probably the best place in the park to watch deer. The 11mile Cades Cove Loop Road is open from sunrise to sunset throughout the year. Both deer and elk are especially unpredictable in fall. People should never approach or attempt to feed them. Use binoculars and cameras with telephoto lenses to observe their activities. heavily on acorns, hickory nuts, and other types of hard “mast” to gain weight for winter. If the trees provide plentiful mast, bears will not need to wander far and wide in search of food and females will give birth to 1-3 tiny bear cubs over the winter. If the mast crop is poor, bears will be crossing roads and searching for food in developed areas more frequently. Be alert! Construction of the Clingmans Dome tower was completed in 1960. Major Grant Funds Tower Rehabilitation T hanks to a $250,000 grant from Partners in Preservation (PIP), crews will be at work this fall rehabilitating the iconic Clingmans Dome observation tower. Their tasks will include stabilizing support walls at the base of the ramp, repairing deteriorated sections of columns, and repointing some stone masonry. For safety reasons the tower will be closed to the public during the duration of the project, which is likely to last through most of the fall. However, visitors will still be allowed to hike up the 0.5 mile paved trail to the top of the mountain, which is the high point in the Smokies and the third highest summit east of the Mississippi River. Visitors on the trail should be aware that construction vehicles may be headed up or down the route. Great Smoky Mountains National Park competed with 20 other parks for the Partners funding. In honor of the National Park Service centennial last year, grants were awarded to nine historic preservation projects in various national parks. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the American Express Company, among others, team up to provide the PIP grants each year. The modern design of Clingmans Dome tower was a radical concept when it was conceived by local architect Hubert Bebb and the NPS in the late 1950s. The observation tower was created to replace a wooden structure upon which visitors had to climb steep stairs to get a view above the Fraser fir trees. That tower had fallen into disrepair and was closed in 1950. The ramp of the new tower was designed to mimic the grade of the trail leading to the mountaintop and allows access by strollers and persons unable to climb multiple flights of stairs. smokies trip planner smokies guide Smokies Guide is produced four times per year by Great Smoky Mountains Association and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Publication dates are roughly as follows: SPRING: March 15 SUMMER: June 1 AUTUMN: September 15 WINTER: December 1 Contributing Editor Steve Kemp NPS Coordinator Nigel Fields Editorial Board Joy Absher Lynda Doucette Kristine Johnson Mike Maslona Laurel Rematore Contributors Lisa Horstman, Karen Key, Emma Dufort © 2017 Great Smoky Mountains Association GSMA P.O. Box 130 Gatlinburg, TN 37738 printed on recycled paper 2 d smokies guide, Fall 2017 Nine campgrounds will be open in the national park this fall. accommodations pets in the park LeConte Lodge (accessible by trail only) provides the only lodging in the park. Call (865) 429-5704. For information on lodging outside the park: Bryson City 1-800-867-9246 Cherokee 1-828-788-0034 Fontana 1-800-849-2258 Gatlinburg 1-800-588-1817 Maggie Valley 1-800-624-4431 Pigeon Forge 1-855-716-6199 Sevierville 1-888-889-7415 Townsend 1-800-525-6834 Pets are allowed in frontcountry campgrounds and beside roads as long as they are restrained at all times. Pets are not allowed on park trails, except for the Gatlinburg and Oconaluftee River trails. Dogs on these trails must be leashed. MARY ANN KRESSIG PHOTO BILL LEA PHOTO to order maps and guides: www.SmokiesInformation.org camping in the the national park The National Park Service maintains developed campgrounds at nine locations in the park. There are no showers or hookups. Circuits for special medical devices are available at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont. Campsites at Elkmont, Smokemont, Cataloochee, Cosby, and Cades Cove may be reserved. For reservations call 1-877-444-6777 or contact www.recreation. gov. Sites may be reserved up to six months in advance. Reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground. Other park campgrounds are first-come, first-served. Site occupancy is limited to six people and two vehicles (a trailer = 1 vehicle). The maximum stay is 14 days. Special camping sites for large groups are available seasonally at Big Creek, Cades Cove, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, and Smokemont. Group sites must be reserved. Call 1-877-4446777 or contact www.recreation.gov. Group sites may be reserved up to one year in advance. The list below shows number of sites, elevations, daily fees, approximate 2017 operation dates, and maximum RV lengths. Visit www. nps.gov/grsm for current information. ABRAMS CREEK 16 sites, elev. 1,125’, $14, open May 26Oct. 9, 12’ trailers BALSAM MOUNTAIN 42 sites, elev. 5,310’, $14, open May 26-Oct. 9, 30’ RVs BIG CREEK 12 sites, elev. 1,700’, $14, open April 14-Oct. 29, tents only CADES COVE 159 sites, elev. 1,807’, $17-$20, open yearround, 35’-40’ RVs CATALOOCHEE 27 sites, elev. 2,610’, $20, open April 7-Oct. 29, reservations required, 31’ RVs COSBY 157 sites, elev. 2,459’, $14, April 14-Oct. 29, 25’ RVs DEEP CREEK 92 sites, elev. 1,800’, $17, open April 14-Oct. 29, 26’ RVs ELKMONT 220 sites, elev. 2,150’, $17-$23, open March 10-Nov. 26, 32’-35’ RVs LOOK ROCK Closed SMOKEMONT 142 sites, elev. 2,198’, $17-$20, open yearround, 35’-40’ RVs. picnic areas Please see pages 8-9 for locations of picnic areas. All have charcoal grills for cooking. Cades Cove, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, and Metcalf Bottoms are open year-round. Heintooga closes October 9. Big Creek, Collins Creek, and Cosby close on October 29. Chimneys closes November 26. Look Rock will not open this year. special events December 9 Festival of Christmas Past Sugarlands Visitor Center Bicycle and pedestrian morning on Cades Cove Loop Road. December 16 Holiday Homecoming Oconaluftee Visitor Center bicycling visitor centers Most park roads are too narrow and heavily traveled by automobiles for safe or enjoyable bicycling. However, Cades Cove Loop Road is an exception. This 11-mile, one-way, paved road provides bicyclists with excellent opportunities for viewing wildlife and historic sites. Helmets are required for persons age 16 and under and are strongly recommended for all bicyclists. From mid-May through mid-Sept., on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, only bicycles and pedestrians are allowed on Cades Cove Loop Road. Bicycles may be rented at the Cades Cove Campground store next to Cades Cove Campground. Sugarlands—Sept. & Oct.: 8-6; Nov. 8-5. Oconaluftee—Sept. & Oct.: 9-6; Nov. 9-5. Cades Cove—Sept. & Oct.: 9-6:30; Nov. 9-5:30. Clingmans Dome—Sept. & Oct.: 10-6; Nov. 9:30-5. facility rentals The Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin, both located near Elkmont Campground, can be rented for daytime events from spring through fall. Contact www. recreation.gov. other services There are no gas stations, showers, or restaurants in the national park. Mt. LeConte Lodge is the only lodging. park information Gatlinburg, TN elev. 1,462’ Avg. High Jan. Feb. March April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov. Dec. 49° 53° 62° 71° 77° 82° 85° 84° 79° 70° 60° 51° Mt. Le Conte elev. 6,593’ Low Precip. 27° 28° 35° 42° 50° 58° 62° 61° 55° 43° 34° 28° 4.0” 4.1” 5.5” 4.5” 5.7” 5.8” 6.3” 5.3” 4.7” 2.9” 3.4” 4.6” Avg. High Low Precip. 36° 37° 44° 52° 58° 64° 67° 67° 62° 55° 46° 38° 18° 19° 25° 31° 39° 47° 50° 49° 44° 35° 27° 20° 6.7” 5.6” 7.0” 6.7” 8.0” 8.7” 9.0” 7.6” 7.2” 4.7” 6.8” 6.4” The above temperature and precipitation averages are based on data for the last 20 years. Temperatures are in degrees fahrenheit. An average of over 84” (7 feet) of precipitation falls on the higher elevations of the Smokies. On Mt. Le Conte, an average of 82.8” of snow falls per year. Horseback riding is generally available from early March into November. Rates are $30 per hour. Most stables have maximum rider weight limits of 225 or 250 pounds and age restrictions for children. Please call the stables below or stop at a visitor center for detailed information. CADES COVE (865) 448-9009 www.cadescovestables.com SMOKEMONT (828) 497-2373 www.smokemontridingstable.com SMOKY MTN (865) 436-5634 www.smokymountainridingstables.com SUGARLANDS (865) 4363535 www.sugarlandsridingstables.com Hayrides and carriage rides ($12 per person) are available from Cades Cove Riding Stable. Wagon rides ($10 per person) are offered at Smokemont. Souvenir photos, tee-shirts, hats, and ice may be available. The Park Service operates horse camps at Cades Cove, Big Creek, Cataloochee, and Round Bottom. Call 877-4446777 or visit www.Recreation. gov for reservations. Cherokee, NC to: Gatlinburg: 34 miles (1 hour) Cades Cove: 57 miles (2 hours) Newfound Gap: 18 miles (½ hour) Clingmans Dome: 25 miles (¾ hour) Cataloochee: 39 miles (1½ hours) Deep Creek: 14 miles (½ hour) Gatlinburg, TN to: Cherokee: 34 miles (1 hour) Cades Cove: 27 miles (1 hour) Newfound Gap: 16 miles (½ hour) Clingmans Dome: 23 miles (¾ hour) Cataloochee: 65 miles (2 hours) Greenbrier Cove: 6 miles (¼ hour) Deep Creek: 48 miles (1½ hours) BILL LEA PHOTO horse riding DRIVING DISTANCES & ESTIMATED TIMES Fishing for brook trout is now allowed in park streams. fishing Fishing is permitted yearround in the park, but a Tennessee or North Carolina fishing license is required. Either state license is valid throughout the park and no trout stamp is required. A special permit is required for the Cherokee Reservation and Gatlinburg. Licenses are available in nearby towns. Fishing with bait is prohibited. A free fishing map with information about park streams and a complete list of all park fishing regulations is available at park visitor centers. Townsend, TN to: Cades Cove: 9 miles (¼ hour) Newfound Gap: 34 miles (1¼ hours) Gatlinburg: 22 miles (¾ hour) Cherokee: 52 miles (1½ hours) Look Rock: 18 miles (½ hour) Cataloochee: 87 miles (2¼ hours) JIM MOWBRAY PHOTO for additional information, visit www.nps.gov/grsm Primitive backcountry shelters like this one at Double Springs Gap are located along the Appalachian Trail and near the summit of Mt. Le Conte. Reservations are required for all campers in the backcountry. backcountry camping in the smokies Camping at a backcountry campsite or shelter can be an exciting adventure for persons properly equipped and informed. To facilitate this activity, the National Park Service maintains over 800 miles of trails and more than 100 backcountry campsites and shelters throughout the park. One of the greatest challenges for backcountry campers is deciding where to go. Here are some tools to help. 1. Go online to view the park’s official trail map (www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/maps.htm), which shows all park trails, campsites, and shelters. Park rules and regulations are also listed here. If you wish, you can purchase the printed version of the trail map for $1 by stopping at any park visitor center or calling (865) 436-7318 x226 or shopping online at www. SmokiesInformation.org. 2. Call or stop by the park’s backcountry office (open every day from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m). The office is located in Sugarlands Visitor Center, two miles south of Gatlinburg on Newfound Gap Road (U.S. 441). (865) 436-1297. 3. Make your reservation through the backcountry office at Sugarlands Visitor Center (by phone or in person) or online at www. smokiespermits.nps.gov. Reservations and permits are required for all overnight stays in the backcountry. The cost is $4 per person per night. Reservations may be made up to 30 days in advance. Rangers will need to rescue over 100 people in the backcountry this year. If you don’t want to be one of them: • Ditch the sandals. Sturdy hiking boots are the best way to prevent a lower leg injury. • Know when the sun sets. Many hikes turn into rescues because people get caught out on trails after dark without flashlights or headlamps. • Know your limits. Don’t plan a 15-mile hike unless you are in spectacular physical condition and have done such hikes in mountain terrain recently. • Prepare for the weather. These mountains are green because it rains a whole lot here. Always carry rain gear. Stay dry. smokies guide, Fall 2017 d 3 great sights to see KENT CAVE PHOTO A dozen must-see places in the Great Smoky Mountains WHERE TO BEAT THE CROWDS If you want to beat the October crowds, try some of these off-the-beaten-path destinations. Road Closed The observation tower atop the Smokies highest peak, 6,643’. Waterrock Knob A paved, but steep, 0.5 mile trail leads to the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains. The observation tower may be closed for repairs, but there are good views from the trail. To get there: turn off Newfound Gap Road 0.1 mile south of Newfound Gap and follow the 7-mile-long Clingmans Dome Road to the parking area. A visitor center is located along the trail. The road to Clingmans Dome is closed from December 1 through March 31 due to weather. 2. andrews bald “Balds” are mountaintop meadows of mysterious origin. Andrews offers panoramic mountain views in favorable weather. The 3.6 mile roundtrip hike to Andrews Bald is along Forney Ridge Trail and starts from the end of Clingmans Dome parking area. The trail leads through high elevation spruce-fir forest with evergreen trees and unusual flora and fauna. 3. sugarlands visitor center It’s fun, it’s free, and it’s easy to find. Sugarlands Visitor Center is located 2 miles south 4 d smokies guide, Fall 2017 of Gatlinburg, TN on U.S. 441. Highlights include flora and fauna exhibits, a 20-minute film in the surround-sound theater, an information desk, and bookstore. Several short nature trails also begin at the center, as do ranger-led walks and talks. Open every day except Christmas. BILL LEA PHOTO 1. clingmans dome 4. water-powered grist mills Two historic, water-powered grist mills operate from 9-5 daily, grinding corn into corn meal. Cable Mill sits in Cades Cove (halfway around the one-way loop road). Mingus Mill is 2 miles north of Cherokee, NC on U.S. 441 (Newfound Gap Road). Corn meal is available for purchase. 5. newfound gap This gap is a low point in the mountain range and straddles the boundary of North Carolina and Tennessee. From here one can enjoy spectacular views into both states and take a short stroll along the famous Appalachian Trail. There are also restrooms and the historic Rockefeller Memorial. The Davis-Queen house at the Mountain Farm Museum. 6. oconaluftee history museums This history buff’s paradise now offers free indoor and outdoor museums. It also features old-time breeds of livestock (seasonally) an heirloom garden and row crops and occasional historic demonstrations. The new visitor center and mountain farm museum are located on U.S. 441 (Newfound Gap Road), 2 miles north of Cherokee, NC. A new audio tour of the farm can be rented at the visitor center for a small fee. Open every day except Christmas. 7. deep creek waterfalls Around 2 miles of walking will acquaint you with beautiful Deep Creek and three pretty waterfalls (Juney Whank, Tom Branch, and Indian Creek). The trails to the waterfalls start from the large parking area at the end of Deep Creek Road (across the creek from Deep Creek Campground). Deep Creek also features a picnic area. 8. mt. le conte The Rainbow Falls Trail to Mt. Le Conte and LeConte Lodge will be closed Mondays-Thursdays for trail repairs through November 16. However, there are plenty of alternatives for hikers to this popular peak. The Boulevard Trail starts from Newfound Gap and runs 8.1 miles to LeConte Lodge. Bull Head Trail begins from Cherokee Orchard and is 6.4 miles long. Alum Cave Trail starts from Newfound Gap Road and is 5 miles long. Brushy Mountain and Trillium Gap trails lead 9.1 miles to the summit. 9. Look Rock walking trail and tower. Great views, just off the Foothills Parkway West, 18 miles from Townsend, TN. 10. Cataloochee Valley. This remote area is accessible only by narrow, winding secondary roads. But when you arrive, there are elk to watch, historic buildings to explore, and plenty of trails to walk. 39 miles from Cherokee; 65 miles from Gatlinburg. 11. Foothills Parkway East. A 6-mile scenic road connects U.S. 321 with Interstate-40 and offers several parking areas with spectacular autumn views along the way. 12. Fontana Dam and Lake. A TVA visitor center and tours highlight the highest dam in the East. Fontana Marina offers boat rentals and shuttles for access to remote, historic areas like Hazel Creek and Eagle Creek. 33 miles from Bryson City. park news Great Smoky Mountains National Park protects over 800 square miles of land National Park Service New Briefs Trails Forever Crews Turn Rocky, Rooty Gulleys into Beautiful Trails Progress Made on Trails Closed by Fires PARK OFFICIALS REPORT that part of Chimney Tops Trail and all of Road Prong Trail are expected to reopen sometime this fall. The upper quarter-mile section of Chimney Tops will remain closed until at least next year because of fallen trees, unstable ground, and erosion. Hikers will be able to go as far as a scenic viewpoint at 1.7 miles, but not to the rocky promontory where the Chimney Tops 2 fire originated in 2016. In 2018, park trail crews plan to reopen Sugarland Mountain, Bull Head, and Rough Creek trails. The Bull Head area was heavily impacted by the fire and hikers will find many stunning new views and exposed boulder fields. Thousands View Solar Eclipse from Park PEOPLE FLOCKED TO THE PARK to view the total solar eclipse on August 21, but rangers were happy to report they weren’t overwhelmed. The days before, after, and of the eclipse set all-time records for park visitation (nearly 9,000 were tallied a Sugarlands Visitor Center on September 21). At Clingmans Dome, where 1,500 ticketed participants gathered for the celestial event, the clouds parted just in time to offer a full view. While officials were prepared to close Newfound Gap and Cades Cove loop roads because of overcrowding on eclipse day, neither closure was necessary. Tree Hazards Close Parson Branch Road PARSON BRANCH ROAD, A NARROW, ONE-WAY graveled roadway which connects Cades Cove Loop Road and highway 129, has been temporarily closed due to the large number of dead eastern hemlock trees along the roadside. Most of the trees were killed by the hemlock woolly adelgid, a non-native pest which has wiped out more than half the park’s hemlocks. Please Leave Your Firewood at Home WOOD-BORING INSECTS FROM EUROPE and Asia have the potential to devastate over 40 species of hardwood trees in the Great Smoky Mountains. To help prevent this catastrophe from ever happening, the National Park Service has imposed restrictions on the type of firewood that can be brought into the national park. Only certified, heat-treated firewood may now be brought into the park, though dead and down wood may still be collected inside the park for campfires here. Certified wood is now available for sale both inside and outside the park. For more information visit www.nps.gov/grsm. Adam Monroe and the Wednesday volunteers on Rainbow Falls Trail this year. For more information about low- or “no-” impact hiking, horseback riding, and camping, please visit lnt.org. Josh Shapiro photo A ny veteran hiker in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has probably noticed a spectacular improvement in several of the park’s most popular trails over the last eight years. Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald has been transformed from an ankle twisting obstacle course into an attractive, durable, landscaped footpath. Ditto for Chimney Tops and Alum Cave trails. Now the park’s Trails Forever crew, the cadre of park employees, interns, and volunteers responsible for the aforementioned successes, has turned its efforts to Rainbow Falls Trail to Mount Le Conte, one of the most heavily-used trails in America’s most-visited national park. “A lot of the [Rainbow Falls] trail was eroded down to a hazardous gulley filled with roots and rocks,” said Josh Shapiro, Trail Supervisor for the Trails Forever crew. “Because the drainage system had failed, the gullies kept eroding deeper and deeper,” he added. Rainbow Falls has also become plagued with a destructive network of social trails, places where hikers have decided to shortcut to a stream or cut across the swithbacks of the maintained trail. Social trails cause erosion, destroy wildflowers, trees, and other vegetation, and all-too-frequently cause people to get lost. For the Trails Forever crew, erasing social trails is no small task. Workers need to rehabilitate the soil, transplant ferns, grasses, and other vegetation on top of the paths, bring in forest duff, then arrange logs and deadfalls to discourage hikers from recreating the social trails. Of course, trail crews would greatly prefer hikers to stay on the maintained trails and refrain from creating new ones. This would save park flora and fauna, reduce the soil eroding into streams, cut down on visitor injuries and searches, and save the park a significant amount of money. Shapiro said fixes for the eroded gullies are by necessity drastic. The crew often builds “turnpikes”—frames made from black locust logs that hold rocks and soil in place— and stone staircases constructed from native materials. The massive rocks are moved into place with help from heavy duty grip hoists. To accommodate the ongoing work, Rainbow Falls Trail is closed Mondays through Thursdays until November 16. Hikers are welcome Fridays through Sundays and on holidays. By the end of the season, reconstruction work should be finished from the Rainbow Falls trailhead to the waterfall. In 2018, plans are to again close the trail Mondays through Thursdays from early May to mid-November. The crew will then be focusing on the section from the waterfall to the top of Le Conte, including a quarter-mile stretch that was heavily impacted by the 2016 wildfire. The Trails Forever crew consists of nine National Park Service employees, most of whom work on a temporary or seasonal basis and 12 Americorps enrollees who are part of the American Conservation Experience (ACE) program. On Wednesdays the crew is bolstered by a number of park volunteers. Trails Forever is supported by an endowment created and managed by the nonprofit Friends of the Smokies. “The rock work we are doing should last over 100 years,” Shapiro said. “The turnpikes and other improvements should be good for decades as long as they receive routine maintenace.” smokies guide, Fall 2017p 5 free, fun things to do SUGARLANDS/ELKMONT AREA Autumn Amble: Join a ranger to discover the wondrous world of the Smokies in fall. Locations will vary as the leaf color peaks at different elevations. Limit 25. Call 865-436-1291 to sign up! Branching Out: The Smokies are home to over 130 species of trees. Explore the dramatic forest and find out what the trees can tell us about their ecosystem. MEETING LOCATION DURATION/ DIFFICULTY Sundays & Wednesdays Varies 1.5 hours/ Moderate Sundays & Fridays Elkmont Nature Trail 1.5 hours/Easy Daily Sugarlands Visitor Center 1.5 hours/ Easy Sundays Elkmont Ranger Station 2 hours/ Easy Daily Sugarlands Visitor Center 30 minutes/ Easy WHEN? 10:00 A.M. 2:00 P.M. A Walk in the Woods: Do you have a few minutes? Get away from the hustle and bustle by taking an easy stroll and discover stories of history and nature along this scenic, wooded trail. 11:00 A.M. Old Town of Elkmont: Take an afternoon stroll with a ranger and learn about Elkmont when it was a turn-of-the-century logging boomtown. 2:00 P.M. Junior Ranger: Porch Talk: Did you know that the Smokies is one of the most diverse places in the world? Join a ranger to learn more during this “Ranger’s Choice” style program. 3:00 P.M. Sugarlands Night Hike: Challenge your senses and experience the mystery of the Smokies after dark. ** Begins September 24 7:30 P.M. Junior Ranger Explorer: Explore life beneath the trees. Come prepared to get your hands dirty as we reveal what is hidden on the forest floor. Ranger Skills: Join a ranger to learn a new set of skills designed to help you get the most out of your Great Smoky Mountain experience. Little River Night Hike: Challenge your senses and experience the mystery of the Smokies after dark. Hike With A Naturalist: Get outside, connect with nature, and explore the Smokies! Aw Shucks: Come and experience the art of making a simple cornshuck doll while gaining historical insight of the diversity of corn in the region. Limit 25. Call 865-436-1291 to sign up! Porters Creek Hike: Enjoy this walk along beautiful Porters Creek to discover signs of the past—things in Greenbrier Cove have changed both so much and so little over time. Talking Tombstones: The Smokies preserves almost 200 cemeteries. Researching a cemetery can be lots of work but very informative and entertaining. Come and experience the stories the tombstones share with us. Evening Campfire: Join a ranger for a National Park tradition—the evening campfire program. Topics vary, but you’re guaranteed to learn something new about Great Smoky Mountains. Freshwater Wilderness: Join a Ranger to learn more about the complex world of plants and animals found in and around our mountain streams. h Sundays Sugarlands Visitor Center 1 hour/ Easy Sundays & Fridays Sugarlands Visitor Center 45 minutes/ Easy to Moderate Mondays Sugarlands Visitor Center 45 minutes/ Easy to Moderate Mondays & Thursdays Little River Trailhead 1 hour/ Easy Tuesdays & Fridays Sugarlands Visitor Center 1.5 hours/ Easy Thursdays Sugarlands Visitor Center 45 minutes/ Easy Wednesdays & Saturdays Porters Creek Trailhead 2 hours/ Easy Fridays Jakes Creek Trailhead 45 minutes/ Easy Fridays & Saturdays Elkmont Campground 1 hour/ Easy 1:00 P.M. 1:00 P.M. 7:30 P.M. 10:00 A.M. 1:00 P.M. 1:30 P.M. 3:00 P.M. 7:30 P.M. h Saturdays Little River Trailhead 1.5 hours/ Easy 11:00 A.M. & 2:00 P.M. Tuesdays Little Greenbrier School 1.5 hours/ Easy Cades Cove Visitor Continuous Sundays & Saturdays 1:00 P.M. Cades Cove Visitor Center WILD by Design: A short talk and demonstration about the wild things in the Sundays & Saturdays Cades Cove Visitor Center Wee Wild Ranger Program: A fun, interactive program specifically for kids 3- 5 years old learning about butterflies. Kids will receive a “Wee Wild Ranger” certificate. Mondays (Sept. only) 9:30 A.M. METCALF BOTTOMS AREA Junior Ranger: School Days at Little Greenbrier: Go back in time to discover what it was like to live in a mountain community and go to school in a one-room schoolhouse. Fun for all ages, and great for Junior Rangers. Please arrive 15 minutes before program start; space is limited. CADES COVE AREA Junior Ranger Program: Join a Park Ranger for a hands-on exploration of the Smokies. Participation counts towards credit for earning a Junior Ranger badge and certificate. Smokies. Evening Hayride: Enjoy a ranger-led open air hayride viewing wildlife and discovering the diversity of Cades Cove. Fee: $14.00 per person. 6 d smokies guide, Fall 2017 2:30 P.M. 11, 11:30 A.M., 12:00, 12:30, 1, 2, 2:30, 3 P.M. Cades Cove Visitor Center Wednesdays & Fridays Cades Cove Riding Stables 4:00 P.M. h 45 minutes/ Easy h 30 minutes/ Easy 20 minutes/ Easy h 1.5-2 hours/ Easy PROGR AMS AND ACTIVITIES IN GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK SEPTEMBER 16 – OCTOBER 28 , 2017 ONLY MEETING LOCATION DURATION/ DIFFICULTY 10:30 A.M. Sundays Bradley Fork Trailhead Smokemont Campground 1 hour/ Easy Sundays & Fridays Mountain Farm Museum 1 hour/ Easy Mondays Oconaluftee Visitor Center Porch h 45 minutes/ Easy h 1 hour/ Easy h 45 minutes/ Easy h 1 hour/ Easy OCONALUFTEE AREA WHEN? Smokemont History Walk: Join a Ranger for a short walk to the former home site of Julius Carver and discover what life was like for families living in the area before the park. Down on the Farm: Walk down to the farm and see what activities may have kept families busy yesterday and today. Demonstrations vary. Oconaluftee Elk: Have you ever wondered how a bull elk’s antlers grow or how elk stay warm in the winter? Join a Ranger to discover the answers to these questions and much more. Coffee With a Ranger: Join a Ranger for a cup of coffee and find out what’s happening in the park! Coffee provided. Bring a cup if you have one. Topics may vary based on visitor interests and things going on in the park. Forecasting the Future with Mother Nature: How do you tell if this will be a hard winter or a mild one? What about snow this year? How did people in the past use nature to forecast the upcoming winter? Join park staff and explore the possibilities this year. What Smokey Bear Didn’t Tell You—Wildland Fire Ecology: Not all fire is bad. Naturally occurring wildland fire has shaped the forests throughout our land, creating the forests as we know them. Join the conversation with a Park Ranger to learn how fire benefits the forest health. 2:00 P.M. 2:00 P.M. Tuesdays 10:30 A.M. Wednesdays 10:30 A.M. Wednesdays 2:00 P.M. River Ramble: Stroll along a mountain stream. This easy walk with a Ranger offers you an amazing opportunity to explore the Smokies only minutes from your car. 10:30 A.M. No Nails Needed: Have you ever wondered how the wooden structures on the farm are held together? Join a ranger to learn how buildings were constructed in Southern Appalachia without using nails! 10:30 A.M. Longing for the “Good Ol’ Days”: You’ve heard it before but was it really the “good ol’ days?” Join a ranger for a walk on the Mountain

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