I drove over to Great Smoky Mountains National Park today to add to my hiking mileage total. I drove up to Newfound Gap and over to the Clingmans Dome parking area for the start of my hike on the Forney Ridge and Forney Creek Loop. I started in beautiful morning conditions at the parking area
The Forney Ridge Trail was very well maintained. I'm guessing it gets a lot of use from those wanting to make the hike over to Andrews Bald. I hiked on some puncheon
I followed the Forney Ridge Trail past the bald and its condition deteriorated rapidly. The first two miles beyond Andrews Bald the trail was overgrown, rocky, rooty, and often on a steep muddy incline.
After a short time hiking on the Springhouse Branch Trail, I spotted a nice looking log to sit on and stopped for a snack.
After exploring the site of the CCC camp I continued on ascending the mostly gentle grades of the Forney Creek Trail. It follows an old rail bed most of the way and every now and then I would see evidence of the railroad era, like old rails. I passed some really well done rock work at a switchback on the former rail line
After crossing Forney Creek 6 times (and thoroughly soaking my boots in the process) I found myself at a campsite. Campsite #68 is divided into a lower and upper site, separated by .4 mile. I took a snack break at the lower site and then made my way up to the upper one. There were two waterfalls at the upper site.