From its beginning near the road turnaround, the Brushy Mountain Trail follows an easy course along the lower perimeter of Porters Flat. About a mile above the turnaround, the Brushy Mountain Trail veers away from Long Branch and soon encounters a faint path on the left that leads fifty feet to the old Mark Whaley homeplace and a fine spring that was once curiously known as the Fittified Spring.
A mile above the Fittified Spring, the Brushy Mountain Trail eases out of Porters Flat and into the Trillium Branch drainage, climbing steeply along a drier south-facing exposure where the hemlock-hardwood association yields to pine stands.
To reach the north-facing slope, the trail crosses Trillium Branch on slippery moss-covered rocks and climbs through an old-growth stand of eastern hemlocks. A half-mile above Trillium Branch, the trail executes a sharp switchback onto a boulder-strewn slope.
A little more than a mile above the switchback, the trail levels out into a spacious park-like setting astride Trillium Gap, nestled between Mount Le Conte and Brushy Mountain. Trillium Gap is forested with gnarled wind-agonized beech trees, and, except where paths have been worn, the ground in the gap is covered in lush grass.
In Trillium Gap, the Brushy Mountain Trail intersects its western counterpart, the Trillium Gap Trail
, before turning right and continuing on to terminate on the dome-like summit of Brushy Mountain.
This content was contributed by author Ken Wise. For a comprehensive hiking guide to the Great Smoky Mountains and to see more by Ken, click here
Yellow poplar, black locust, hemlock, beech, yellow buckeye, white basswood, sugar maple, black cherry, spring beauties, squirrel corn, toothwort, Dutchman’s-breeches, and crimson bee-balm dominate the local area.