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A route along one of the trails the settlers utilized to get over the mountains.

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Point to Point

5,629' 1,716 m


3,054' 931 m


211' 64 m


2,574' 785 m



Avg Grade (7°)


Max Grade (15°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers

Closed if Newfound Gap Road (US HWY 441 between Gatlinburg TN - Cherokee NC) is closed due to snow and ice. Newfound Gap Road information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.


The trailhead is 4.4 miles from Newfound Gap on the Appalachian Trail (AT). Park at Newfound Gap and start your journey, passing Icewater Springs and Charlies Bunion on your way to the trailhead. Due to its location, chances are you might be the only one on the trail.

The trail climbs for about half a mile through the forest until it starts to level off. As the trail levels off, you enter a grassy area that provides great views and blueberries, blackberries, and huckleberries in August. The trees in this area are relatively young, as this area was logged by the lumber companies. A fire swept through this area destroying much of the habitat, and creating areas like Charlies Bunion. You'll notice that as the trail goes through the meadow, it sinks below the area around it because of horse use and erosion. The way can be rocky in this section, so watch your step.

Now the trail starts it descent as it makes its way toward Smokemont and the junction with Cabin Flats Trail. At mile 1.3, you reach the junction of the Grassy Branch Trail. From here, you can make your way down to the Kephart Shelter (2.5 miles away) by turning right, or continue straight ahead toward Smokemont (7.1 miles away). Norway spruce trees, planted by the Champion Lumber Company, may be seen in this area, at least until the national park can remove this exotic species.

The trail follows Richland Mountain ridge, getting rocky and muddy as you descend. This cooler, wetter environment makes for good wildflower viewing in the spring and summer. The trail crosses Bradley Fork via a rock hop, and you enter a ravine that escaped logging and fire due to its moist, sheltered environment. This section is just one example of a few of the old growth forests that exist in the park.

The trail continues to be rocky as it descends along the creeks in the area. Rock hops are usually easy unless it's been raining or there is a lot of snow melt. You continue descending until you come to a log bridge that crosses the Tennessee Branch of Bradley Fork. You descend through a ravine, crossing the creek several times via logs or rock hops. Finally, you get to a point where the trail narrows and creek stays on your right hand side. At mile 4.2, you reach the Dry Sluice Gap Trail sign and the end of this trail.

You have several options. You can go to your left for .6 miles to spend the night at Campsite #49. Or, if you go to the right, you can make your way 4.2 miles to the Smokemont Campground.

Flora & Fauna

Due to areas of this trail not being logged by the lumber companies, it's a good opportunity to see some old growth forest and a variety of trees that are indigenous to the Smokies. Flowers are plentiful in some areas of the route where there is plenty of shade and water for them to thrive.


Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 6 votes


in Oconaluftee


  3.3 from 6 votes
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7 Views Last Month
1,883 Since Sep 4, 2015



Tennessee Branch of the Forney Fork making it's way downhill.
Feb 14, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
The Sluice Gap Trail as it descends along the ridge.  Covered with leaves in the fall or winter, rocks and roots can be hidden and trip you up if you aren't watching where you go.
Feb 14, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
A burl on a dying tree along the trail.
Feb 14, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
The area is rocky as evidenced by the trees that fall over having rocks intertwined with the roots.
Feb 14, 2016 near Cherokee, NC
Views off to the left side of the Dry Sluice Gap Trail as you descend along the ridge.
Feb 14, 2016 near Cherokee, NC



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jun 8, 2017
Brian Reed
Jun 3, 2017
Dave Emery
Took the loop from Kephart to AT via Dry Sluice. 1.3mi — 0h 35m
Feb 20, 2017
Brian Carpenter
headed up from grassy branch and took dry sluce up to the at to newfound gap rd 1.3mi
Dec 26, 2015
David Hitchcock
Hiked from the junction of Grassy Branch Trail to Smokemont with Andy Piercy and Steve Larrabee. 2.9mi