Saturday, July 7, 2012

Family Hiking Programs in the Smokies

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is holding several family-friendly hiking programs to encourage families to get out and hike the park trails, learn new skills, assist in trail stewardship and record their results! The programs are a part of a National Park Foundation grant funded through The Coca-Cola Foundation which expands the current "Hike the Smokies" and "Adopt a Trail" programs.

Participants are asked to wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots and bring plenty of water and a lunch for each hike. For more information, please visit the "Hike the Smokies" website.

Little River Trail Family Adventure Hike at Elkmont
Every Wednesday, June 20- August 11 at 11:00 a.m.

Join a ranger to learn the hiking basics and exploration techniques that are ranger-tested and kid-approved. Hike is 5 miles lasting up to three hours, but participants will have the option to turn around for a shorter hike.

Difficulty: moderate
Accessibility: Unpaved gravel and dirt trail.
Meet at the Little River Trailhead in Elkmont

Andrews Bald Family Adventure Hike
Thursday, July 5 at 10:30AM

Join a ranger for family hiking 101. Learn the fundamentals of safe and fun family hiking as you explore the remnants of an old-growth spruce fir forest. The final destination is Andrew's Bald where hikers will experience one of the most spectacular panoramic views in the Smokies. Roundtrip mileage for this newly renovated trail totals 3.6 miles and will take from 3-4 hours to complete.

Difficulty: easy to moderate as trail has several short up-hill climbs.
Accessibility: Unpaved trail
Meet at Clingmans Dome parking lot, at the Forney Ridge trailhead

Schoolhouse Gap Family Adventure Hike
Thursday, July 12 at 10:00 a.m.

Hiking made easy! Enjoy this wide, graveled trail to Schoolhouse Gap and the Townsend park boundary. This ranger led hike traces the historical footsteps of school children who walked through this mountain gap to get to school. Well known for its spectacular collection of spring flowers, this is a great trail for families. Learn the basics of safe and fun family hiking; observe nature at its finest along a small mountain stream and experience the wildlife of a pine-oak forest habitat. Roundtrip mileage totals 4.4 miles and will take from 3-4 hours to complete.

Difficulty: easy
Accessibility: Unpaved gravel trail.
Meet at parking lot of Schoolhouse Gap Trailhead, Laurel Creek Road


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