by Lynda Doucette, hike leader
The October Classic Hike of the Smokies explored the Noland Creek Trail and some history of the families who were forced to move when TVA purchased the lands for the creation of Fontana Dam.
The land was then donated to the federal government to be added to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The weather was ideal for our group of 27 to explore this area of the park.
The trail is a former road bed with a gentle grade so it made for an easy hike of just over four miles to Campsite 64 (our lunch spot).
The group spread out as we hiked but gathered together every so often to hear about the history of the area.
History of the area
Participants learned that the trail was named for the Noland family and it never had a logging railroad. It was mostly a pastoral area full of farms.
While there were logging companies who worked the area during the 1880s to early 1900s, it was modestly logged using cattle teams and flumes. Hiking it today, you might not realize it had ever been logged.
One of our first stops could have been a repeat of past hikes with an active yellow jacket nest nearby, but, luckily, nobody was stung this time!
As we continued down the trail, we passed old home sites and former orchards.
We occasionally stopped to poke around old foundations and imagine living there. We learned about the old schools, electric fences, power plants, fish hatcheries, and even cabin rentals.
Upon arriving at Campsite 64, we enjoyed a nice break and some lunch.
Some hikers took the opportunity to explore another half mile past the trail to the former Phillip Rust property and a nearby cemetery.
The hike back was leisurely with everyone hiking at their own pace. All in all, it was a great day!
Thanks to Linda Spangler for providing her photographs for this post and many other FOTS blog posts.
The Classic Hikes are the second Tuesday of the month, from March through December. The last hike of 2021 will be Old Sugarlands Trail on Dec. 14.
Registration for one hike is $35 for new members, which includes a one-year FOTS membership and one hike, or $20 for current FOTS members.
You must register for the hike prior to the day of the hike.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out by emailing email@example.com
Trails Forever improves GSMNP trails
Friends of the Smokies established the Trails Forever endowment in 2012, thanks to a matching gift from the Aslan Foundation in Knoxville.
Today, the endowment has grown to more than $6 million and funds a full-time trail crew in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to reconstruct and rehabilitate some of the park’s most impacted trails.
This year, Trails Forever is restoring the Abrams Creek Trail.
Learn more about contributing to the Trails Forever endowment.