An easy, historical hike on the Carolina side of the Smokies

Hikers can participate in a leisurely, guided hike Saturday, Nov. 17, on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hike will follow the Kephart Prong Trail, located just nine miles from Newfound Gap or five miles from Smokemont Campground. In total, the hike will be four miles, round trip, with an elevation gain of 830 feet.

The route will follow a varied walking surface — from an old gravel roadbed to old blacktop to dirt trail — as it weaves through an area that was a logging site in the 1920s and 1930s and contains the remnants of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp, a fish hatchery, and a narrow gauge railway.

The turnaround point will be a backcountry shelter that was the site of a logging camp and recently renovated by the Friends of the Smokies. Hikers should bring warm clothes as well as water and lunch.

The trip is sponsored by the Great Smoky Mountains Association, and an alternate hike, should the U.S. 441 be closed due to inclement weather, will be the Old Sugarlands Trail, located across U.S. 441 from the Park headquarters building. This trail is also rated easy and will be about the same mileage.

Call 1.888.898.9102 for meeting time and place.

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