Hiking Project Logo

Rough Fork Trail

 4 votes

6.5 Miles 10.5 Kilometers


Singletrack

2,286' 697 m

Ascent

0' 0 m

Descent

5,122' 1,561 m

High

2,836' 864 m

Low

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

23%

Max Grade (13°)

Unknown

Update

An easy trail with nineteenth-century houses along the way.

Max Willner

Overview

Great Smoky Mountain National Park closes secondary roads on a seasonal schedule due to snow. Schedules can be found here.

All campsites must be registered with the park. Backcountry rules and regulations can be found here.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Spring — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs

Description

From the Rough Fork Trailhead parking area, hikers will follow Rough Fork Creek. This is also considered a horse trail, so expect portions of the trail to be muddy.

At around 1.1 miles is the Steve Woody House. It was built around 1880. While originally built of logs, it was eventually replaced with lumber once saw mills gained more of a foothold in the Smokies. Steve Woody and Hiram Caldwell (the namesake for Caldwell Fork Trail) were both residents of the Cataloochee area in the 1870s.

At about 1.5 miles, hikers will reach the Big Hemlock Campsite (#40.) The trail begins to get steeper as it ascends towards Caldwell Fork Trail, offering at various times nice views of the Cataloochee Divide. After that junction, the trail climbs a bit more through the thick woods as it eventually comes to a stop at the Polls Gap parking area. From here, hikers have access to the Mountains-to-Sea Trail: Segment 1A and the Hemphill Bald Trail.

Flora & Fauna

The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May. To learn more about the plants of the Smokies and even get a trees and shrubs checklist, visit the park's website.

As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus). For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage.

Contacts

Rate Trail


   Clear Rating

3.0 from 4 votes


Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Sep 24, 2017
Gretchen Pardon
Steep the first 2 miles past campsite 40 but a very pleasant, beautiful trail along the ridge. 6.4mi
Sep 5, 2016
Ryan Spr
Walked to Campsite #40 and turned back to the Rough Fork Trailhead parking area.
Jun 17, 2016
Katarzyna Ropa
4mi
Apr 9, 2016
Dave Emery
Gradual climb and very nice trail 6.5mi

Stewarded By


Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 4 votes

#15

in Cataloochee

#11187

Overall
  3.0 from 4 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
25%
3 Star
50%
2 Star
25%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#15

in Cataloochee

#433

in North Carolina

#11,187

Overall
18 Views Last Month
471 Since Sep 4, 2015
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

Conditions



Getting forecast...

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking