Explore history with a guided hike in the Smokies

Join Friends of the Smokies for a guided hike along Kephart Prong Trail, followed by a visit to the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Mountain Farm Museum, Saturday, March 17.

The four-mile hike will be led by hiking enthusiast and outdoors author Danny Bernstein, who will share cultural history along the route, including a former CCC camp. The hike is the part of the Friends of the Smokies “Classic Hikes of the Smokies series” for 2012. It is easy to moderate in difficulty, with a total elevation gain of 950 feet.

Hikers will also visit the nearby Oconaluftee Visitor Center, featuring interactive exhibits that tell the cultural history of life in the Smokies, and receive a ranger-guided tour of the adjoining Mountain Farm Museum, a collection of historic log buildings gathered from throughout the Smoky Mountains and preserved on a single site. Buildings include a house, barn, applehouse, springhouse and smokehouse.

Hikers should come prepared with food, water and appropriate hiking gear for the all day excursion. A donation of $35 for the Friends’ Smokies Trails Forever program is requested, and includes a complimentary membership to Friends of the Smokies. A donation of $10 is requested from current Friends of the Smokies members. Members who bring a friend hike for free.

Participants will gather to depart in Maggie Valley at 9:30 a.m., or in the park at 10:30 a.m., with meeting locations specified upon registration.

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