Hiking Tour Guides

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Entrance in Gatlinburg
Great Smoky Mountain National Park Entrance in Gatlinburg

A Walk in the Woods tour guides

The staff are very knowledgeable and will gear their walk to your interests.  You will enjoy botany and biology lessons the whole way along. Hopefully you will learn a great deal from your time on the hikes. You won’t be disappointed in the experience and amazing nuances! This is so educational and the guides are willing to share amazing historical and native stories about our Great Smoky Mountains.

There are group tours and individual tours.  The “personalized” tours are amazing. There are all different hikes and levels.  For example, there are Half Day hikes with a moderate level. The guide will explain a few things about the hike. They may also provide you with a walking stick. You will get to stop for a snack half way into the tour.

Some of the paths ,can be a little bit tough but it will absolutely be worth it and beautiful.  It will be challenging and rewarding at the same time.

The company is knowledgeable and so passionate about what they do. The guides have so much information to share that you will feel that you don’t even exhaust their things to talk about.


Attractions, Hiking

Norwood Boiler below Clingmans Dome

When I was growing up I heard about a train that wrecked on Clingmans Dome and rolled down the mountain.  Apparently the engine is in this spot because the driver was drunk and ran off the rails in the 1920s. It rolled down the mountain and landed in the spot it sits in today.

It is said to be a Nichols and Shepard self-propelled, steam-powered machine, also known as a traction engine. The machine was used to power a lumber saw back in the 1920s to saw wood for the Greenbrier School. During its return trip, the driver couldn’t execute a switchback, and the engine rolled down the mountainside and into the creek below. The steam engine still sits in the same spot of the creek today. The engine sits in Injun Creek, which actually got its name from the steam engine. The creek is called “Injun” Creek because of a mapmaker who misspelled the word

Of course that was a definate legend to chase!  So, a few years ago I found that it was a MYTH.  Here is the story as I know it.  Before 1926 the Norwood Lumber Company clear-cut basically the south side of Clingmans Dome.  There is a lot of evidence remaining.  Many RailRoad grades, skidder trails, rails, coal, etc. are all over the mountain.  The “train” that is below the Dome is actually a boiler which produced steam to operate a winch to pull logs up the mountain to train cars.  If you have been to the massive piece of metal it is lying in its side.

The old steam engine can be found along the Grapeyard Ridge Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  From the Clingmans Dome parking area take the  Grapeyard Ridge Trail toward Andrews Bald.  Turn right onto Forney Creek Trail. Go about a 1/4 mile and look for a crain on the right.  The old RR grade is pretty obvious.  Turn right off Forney Creek trail onto the grade.  You will see rails, coal, etc and then will come upon the boiler.  So, its a MYTH….a train did not wreck on Clingmans Dome!  HOWEVER there is a boiler there!
The hike to the steam engine and back is about 5.8 miles. At 2.85 miles, you’ll reach the top of an incline. Once you make your way down the hill, you’ll see the old wreck and steam engine.
To get to the Grapeyard Ridge Trail, you’ll turn to travel eastbound on Hwy 321 at Traffic Light 3 in Gatlinburg. After driving about 6 miles, turn right into Greenbrier. From the highway, it’s a 3 mile drive to the trailhead. You’ll find a small parking area on the side of the road.
Grapeyard Ridge Trail is considered a relatively moderate trail, so you don’t have to worry about it being too challenging! However, there are a couple inclines along the hike. From the trailhead, the trail gains about 270 feet in elevation in only two-thirds of a mile before you’ll begin a small descent to Rhododendron Creek. You’ll want to be sure to wear waterproof shoes for this hike,Cades Cove
because the trail crosses Rhododendron Creek a total of 5 times on the way to the steam engine. If you’re hoping not to get your feet wet, the summer and fall are the best times to do this hike when high water due to rainfall isn’t as big of an issue. Along the hike, you’ll pass several old homestead sites before climbing the ridge to James Gap. The trail passes through long rhododendron tunnels, and once you reach the top, you’ll make a short descent to Injun Creek, where you’ll see the steam engine. The steam engine is the turnaround point for this hike.
posted by 
with excerps from VisitmySmokies.com and reposted here
Attractions, Hiking, History, Parks

Mingus Mill

Just a few hundred feet off of US441, and just a 1/2 mile north of the Oconaluftee Visitor’s Center you’ll find the Mingus Mill. The mill still works and is water powered (it is not a water wheel). The Park Service Volunteers grind both wheat and corn and sell the fruit of their labor. Youngsters will have a great time heading upstream from the mill to play in the water.

The mill itself, and nearby creek are both highly photogenic. There are usually lots of butterflies and dragonflies in the area as well, allowing for many nature shots as well. Hawks and other birds can also be found in the mill area.

I would suggest going to Clingman’s Dome and this mill all in one day. It’s not the kind of thing you make the whole trip to go to, but if you’re there, it’s worth stopping. Lots of wildflowers, wildlife and historic buildings along the way. It is a short easy walk. It is also educational.

Address – 1/2 Mile North of Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NC
Website – http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/mfm.htm