Hike to help your national park this year through Friends of the Smokies’ eighth annual Classic Hikes of the Smokies series. Monthly guided day hikes of varying length and difficulty raise money for the Trails Forever endowment to help maintain the nearly 900 miles of trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Mountain vistas, historic structures, wildflowers, and waterfalls are just a few of the highlights participants can expect, as well as the opportunity to see up close the impact of the restoration work done by the Trails Forever crew.
Deep Creek area of the park near Bryson City. The hike is an easy 5.5-mile loop and includes stops at three waterfalls. Gracia Slater, two-time member of the Smokies 900-mile club and dedicated trail caretaker, will lead.
“When Friends of the Smokies asked me to lead a hike in Smokemont in April 2011, I could not imagine that the program would turn out to be so varied or successful.
We’ve led hikers from all over the South and even as far away as a visitor from New Zealand. Just as amazing, we’re still designing new hikes and experiences for walkers and supporters who come back year after year,” says Danny Bernstein, founder of the Classic Hikes of the Smokies Series and hiking expert and author.
An all-inclusive overnight in Townsend, Tennessee will provide the chance to experience Cades Cove on June 11-12th. Participants will choose from three guided hikes in this special and highly popular part of the park. More details and registration for this special fundraiser will be available mid-February.
Other hikes in the series include Ramsey Cascades, Albright Grove Loop, Chimney Tops and Kephart Prong, among others.
To learn more or register for any Classic Hike visit Hike.FriendsOfTheSmokies.org. Individual hikes are $20 for current Friends of the Smokies members and $35 for new and renewing members. Hikers interested in registering for the full nine-hike series (excluding the overnight experience) can mail a check before March 1 to Friends of the Smokies, PO Box 3179, Asheville, NC 28802 for the discounted series registration rate of $160. The Classic Hikes of the Smokies series is sponsored by Smoky Mountain Living, Mission Health, Diamond Brand Outdoors, Equilibar, HomeTrust Bank, Smoky Park Supper Club, and Leap Frog Tours.