Goldmine Loop Trail and holiday gathering features for December Classic Hike of the Smokies

December 4, 2019

  • FOTS hikers at tunnel

by Julie Dodd

Join Friends of the Smokies to hike the Goldmine Loop Trail on Tuesday, Dec. 10, followed by a holiday celebration.

Swain County (NC) Visitor Center

A holiday gathering will be held at the Swain County Visitor Center following the hike.

This is the final Classic Hike of the Year for 2019. You must register in advance.

The 4.5-mile loop is located outside of Bryson City, North Carolina. The hike includes a section of “The Road to Nowhere,” constructed beginning in the 1940s after Fontana Dam was built, creating Fontana Lake, which flooded the major road in the area.

A 1,200-foot-long tunnel was part of the construction project that was abandoned in the 1970s. The photo at the top of the blog post is of the tunnel and hikers from a previous Classic Hike of the Smokies.

The trail goes through wooded areas of American holly, rosebay rhododendron and Fraser magnolia that have reclaimed historic farmsteads of early settlers.

A highlight of this winter hike will be mountain views of the Smokies not visible when trees are in leaf.

Danny Bernstein receives FOTS Spirit of Philanthropy award

Danny Bernstein receives the FOTS Spirit of Philanthropy award from FOTS North Carolina director Anna Zanetti, on right, and Marielle DeJong, FOTS event manager.

Following the hike, FOTS will hold a gathering at the Swain County Visitor Center. Hikers can enjoy treats, shopping and socializing with fellow hikers.

Danny Bernstein will lead the hike. Bernstein recently received FOTS Spirit of Philanthropy award for her 16 years of support and volunteerism. She helped create the Classic Hike of the Smokies series and is a frequent hike leader.

Outdoor writer and blogger Bernstein has hiked every trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Appalachian Trail, the Mountains to Sea Trail, South Beyond 600 Challenge, and the three Caminos de Santiago.

Register for December Classic Hike

The Classic Hikes of the Smokies are the second Tuesday of the month, from March through December. Each Classic Hike is $20 for FOTS members and $35 for new and renewing members, which includes a one-year membership. 

You must register in advance.

The Classic Hikes of the Smokies series is a fundraiser for Trails Forever, a partnership between Friends of the Smokies and the National Park Service.

Trails Forever funds a full-time trail crew to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of the park’s most used trails. In November 2018, the crew completed the two-year restoration of Rainbow Falls Trail and now is restoring Trillium Gap Trail.

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