Starting at the parking area, the trail passes immediately under the viaduct and crosses Noland Creek on a wooden bridge. Here, the trail follows a fairly level and easy to hike section until a partially obscured access path intersects head-on at a point where the trail curves to the right. The access leads up along Bearpen Branch to the Bearpen Branch Backcountry Campsite (#65).
Upon passing the access path to the Bearpen Branch Camp, the Noland Creek Trail continues a half-mile before entering an old farm field to cross Noland Creek on another wide bridge. Beyond the bridge crossing, remnants of numerous farmsteads dot the landscape.
For a quarter-mile afterwards, the trail continues through old farm fields before crossing Noland Creek again on a bridge. Just beyond the bridge, the trail intersects the Lower Noland-Monteith Cemetery Access
before bearing right on an easy grade for a mile to Solola Valley. Near the upper end of the meadow, the trail crosses bridges twice before intersecting the western terminus of the Springhouse Branch Trail
and the entrance to the Mill Creek Backcountry Campsite (#64).
Beyond the entrance to the campsite, the Noland Creek Trail approaches a low bluff opposite a footlog over Noland Creek. At the far end of the footlog, an access path exits the trail to the right, passing Phillip Rust’s summer homesite and the Upper Noland Cemetery.
Continuing upstream, the trail enters a cove-hardwood association, crossing the creek twice more before reaching the Jerry Flats Backcountry Campsite (#63). On the left, an access path leads to the Jerry Flats/Wiggins Cemetery.
A half-mile above the Jerry Flats Camp, the trail crosses the stream again on a long footlog. Within the next quarter-mile, it approaches a somewhat difficult stream crossing and an access path to the Upper Ripshin Backcountry Campsite (#62).
Passing through the camp, the trail negotiates a crude bridge before executing back-to-back wet crossings of a divided Noland Creek. From this juncture, the trail inches away from the stream, offering a pleasant level excursion through rich cove-hardwood stands before the grade steepens, the track narrows, and the course becomes increasingly muddy and rough.
About a mile and a half above the Upper Ripshin Camp, the trail enters the Bald Creek Backcountry Campsite (#61), before climbing steeply up a ridgeline to terminate in the Noland Divide Trail
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
American beech, black walnut, white oak, red and sugar maple, eastern hemlock, white pine, Fraser magnolia, American holly, yellow buckeye, white basswood, yellow poplar, great lobelias, wild golden-glows, crimson bee-balms, elderberry, and Carolina silverbells dominate the local landscape.