Outdoors Briefs

On the trail

Little River Trail closed for repair

The Little River Trail and associated backcountry campsites 24 and 30 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will be closed Monday through Thursday each week until Thursday, Sept. 7, as crews complete trail repair and rehabilitation work.

The trail and backcountry campsites will reopen to visitors Fridays through Sundays and on federal holidays. The closure is required while crews use heavy equipment to reestablish the drainage system along the trail, which is part of an old roadbed. Trail crews will open sections of the trail in stages as work progresses.

Get ready to backpack

Learn how to pack for an overnight on the trail with a class offered noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, at REI in Asheville.

The class will cover the best ways to distribute gear in the backpack, what fits best where and the key elements to good backpack fit. Participants are encouraged to bring their own gear and backpack.

Cost is $20 for REI members and $40 for non-members. Space is limited. Registration required at rei.com/events.

Hike Haywood

Explore the trails of Haywood County with a series of hikes offered this month from Haywood County Recreation and Parks.

Related Items

• Walk through rhododendron thickets and open areas of wild geranium, blue bead lily and Jack-in-the-pulpit during a 3.5-mile hike Wednesday, Aug. 9, from Sheepback Knob to Hemphill Bald. Guides Jamie and Ruffin will lead this excursion, which has an elevation gain of just 344 feet, meeting at the Ghost Town parking lot at 9 a.m.

• Hike the westernmost section of the Art Loeb Trail with a challenging 11.7-mile hike Saturday, Aug. 12. Hikers will ascend the Art Loeb Trail at Camp Daniel Boone and loop back down on the Little East Fork Trail, logging 2,816 feet of elevation gain. Guides Tara and Steve will meet hikers at Jukebox Junction in Bethel at 8:30 a.m.

• Celebrate the Year of the Trail Saturday, Aug. 19, with an easy 3.2-mile hike at Bear Pen Gap, a high-elevation trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway that follows an old roadbed. This is a great location for viewing wildflowers and high-elevation birds, with a scenic bald at the end. Tara and Steve will guide this trip.

• Hike from N.C. 215 to Haywood Gap with a 5.5-mile hike Wednesday, Aug. 23, led by Kathy and Phyllis. This easy-to-moderate hike includes road walking, rock hopping across streams and several waterfalls. The group will meet at the HART Theatre in Waynesville at 9 a.m. • Take a moderately challenging 7.5-mile hike from Cataloochee Lodge to Purchase Knob Wednesday, Aug. 30. Guides Phyllis and Vickey will meet the group at Ghost Town parking lot in Maggie Valley at 9 a.m. 

Hike registration is $10. Sign up at haywoodcountync.gov/recreation

Ramsey Cascades Trail now open on weekends

Ramsey Cascades Trail and Ramsey Prong Road in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are now open on weekends following a full closure for trail work. The trails will be open Friday through Sunday each week, and on federal holidays, but closed Monday through Thursday to allow trail crews to finish ongoing trail rehabilitation.

out ramseycascadestrail

Newly constructed stairs lead to Ramsey Cascades. NPS photo

Located in the Greenbrier area, the 4-mile Ramsey Cascades Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park and is the only way to access 100-foot Ramsey Cascades, the park’s tallest waterfall.

Ramsey Cascades Trail has been closed since part of the trail was washed out during a flood event last summer. Trail crews rerouted 200 feet of trail, built and installed a new footlog bridge and built four new trail structures damaged by the flood. The remaining trail work is part of ongoing Trails Forever reconstruction efforts. Trail crews will finish repairs to the tread surface, drainage improvements, construction of trail structures and removal of tri pping hazards such as roots and rocks.  

The Trails Forever program is a partnership between Friends of the Smokies and Great Smoky Mountains National Park to fund a permanent, highly skilled trail crew that rehabilitates high-use trails. Abrams Falls, Trillium Gap, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops and Forney Ridge trails have all been rehabilitated through the program.

License plate sales support Nantahala Hiking Club 

The Nantahala Hiking Club will receive a $5,000 grant from funds raised via sales of the North Carolina Appalachian Trail license plate. The funding will help support NHC community and hiker outreach efforts such as the Trail Ambassador Program, the Thru-Hiker Chow Down, activities with local schools and participation in festivals. Additionally, some funds will go toward trail maintenance equipment and supplies.

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