Backpack the Forney Creek Loop

16.8 miles 3500 ft gain  - Loop Trail

Added by Haresh Soorma

Fantastic overnight loop hike with stunning bald views, creek-side trails, water crossings, and quaint campsites.

This is an overnight loop hike that is built around one night in the back country. It can be done as an ambitious day hike. Be advised that permits are required by the NPS for all overnight stays in Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

The hike begins at the Clingman's Dome parking lot at the Forney Ridge Trailhead. Before you begin you have the option of taking a short concrete footpath to Clingman's Dome. If you're lucky enough to arrive on a clear day you will see a breathtaking panorama of the Smoky Mountains.

To begin, you will descend from Clingman's Dome down the Forney Ridge Trail towards Andrew's Bald. In approximately 1.7 miles you will reach Andrew's Bald. Again, depending on the weather you may be greeted with spectacular views or with a foggy white out. It all depends on how fickle the Smoky Weather is that current day. The bald has wooden planks that offer a nice path to walk without disturbing the brush or getting your shoes all wet if their has been a recent rainstorm. After 4.5 miles Forney Creek becomes Springhouse Branch trail. Continue SW on Springhouse Branch Trail until its intersection with Forney Creek Trail.at Campsite 71.

*It is extremely important to note that Forney Creek has 7 total stream crossings, most without bridges. Most can be forded without getting your shoes wet, but depending on recent rain-storms you may need to remove your shoes or have fast-drying trail runners.

Continue on Forney Creek Trail to the gorgeous Campsite 70. Campsite 70 is near the intersection of Forney Creek and Jonas Creek Trails. It is marked by a chimney, the remnants of a crumbling homestead for loggers in the late 19th/early 20th centuries.

The next day make the climb up Forney Creek Trail back to its intersection with the Forney Ridge trailhead from which you started. Of note, campsite 68 is located next a gorgeous waterfall/cascades down a rockface. A mile past campsite 68 is a park sanctioned side-trail to another waterfall.After reaching the intersection with Forney Ridge hang left for climb to the trailhead and parking lot.

Be advised that during some inclement weather certain roads in the park may be closed. Check with the GSMNP website for updates.

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Camping
Fishing
Photography
Backpacking
Hiking
Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
Picnic Area
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife
Swimming Hole

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Beautiful & Quiet

I did this loop in late spring & due to recent rains, the 7 or more creek crossings were flowing really well, which made it a trickier hike, but it was fun. Climbing back up to Clingman's Dome is a challenging hike, but well-worth it. Additionally, once you get away from Clingman's Dome & Andrew's Bald you'll most likely have a pretty quiet hike without many other people.

Favorite Loop

One of my favorite loops in the park. Camping in the old CCC Camp is always a nice stay with out many people.

Stay Nearby

Little River Trail

Spence Cabin

Overview Spence Cabin is an ideal place to hold a small family gathering or family reunion away from the hustle and bustle of nearby towns. It is also an excellent location for a meeting or traini...

Bryson City, North Carolina

Deep Creek Group Camp

Overview Located next to one of the most popular creeks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Deep Creek Group Camp provides traditional primitive camping with the stunning backdrop of the mo...

Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Appalachian Clubhouse

Overview The Appalachian Clubhouse is a historic building constructed in 1934 in the Elkmont Historic District. The structure has been rehabilitated by the National Park Service to closely resemble...

Bryson City, North Carolina

Deep Creek Picnic Pavilion

Overview Deep Creek Picnic Pavilion, surrounded by pristine mountain streams and clear blue skies, is the perfect mountain backdrop for your party or family get-together. Whether blanketed in brigh...

Nearby Adventures

  • Backpack the Clingmans Dome Loop

    The first day of the hike is either 12.3 miles or 10.5 miles (depending on the campsite) almost all downhill, and the second half of the loop is 13.3 miles or 11.5 miles, again depending on the campsite, almost exclusively uphill. Just as a refere...

    25.6 miles 4000 ft gain

  • Hike Andrews Bald

    The trail begins at the Clingmans Dome parking lot, just to the left of the paved walkway up to Clingmans Dome. You will start the hike at an elevation of 6130 feet which is only 334 feet less than Clingmans Dome which is the highest point in The ...

    3.6 miles 1200 ft gain

  • Hike to Clingmans Dome

    The drive to Clingmans Dome is miles of scenic overlooks that provide endless views of ridges and valleys. Clingmans Dome Road comes to a parking lot from which you follow a .5 mile paved trail to the summit.There are also several trails that star...

    1 miles

  • Hike the Chimney Tops

    The Chimney Top's Trail is one of the most visited trails in the Smokies, which is why I recommend going up just before sunset to beat the crowd!During the summer and fall months, it's easy to see a hundred people taking in the view on the same tr...

    3.8 miles 1487 ft gain