Blackberry Farm

Friends of the Farm

Top 5 Summer Trails

Summertime is for swimming holes, waterfalls, high elevation berry-covered balds, and lush jungle-like forests bursting with wildflowers tangled up in green. Here are our top 5 picks for the best summertime hikes at Blackberry Farm and in the nearby Great Smoky Mountains National Park:

1)    The Trunk Branch Loop, Blackberry Farm: This route provides a satisfying circular trip of about 3.25 miles, occasionally crossing the creek of the same name. It is dotted with good crawdad-catching holes, flat stretches with grasses and wildflowers along your path, and a couple of huff-and-puff hills to work off your breakfast. Finish off with an overlook above the farm.

2)    Little Bottoms Trail, GSMNP: Starting at Abram’s Creek Campground, this route begins on the Cooper Road trail, then turns right towards Campsite 17, a nice picnic site. It offers some open scenic views, beautiful hiking along Abram’s Creek (some tempting swimming holes), and abundant wildlife, including scarlet tanagers who frequent the tall oaks in forest clearings. Hike about 6 miles to the campsite and back, or make it a full day and continue to Abram’s Falls (about 10 miles total).

3)    White Oak Sinks, GSMNP: One of our favorite destinations of historical, geological, and botanical interest, this route takes you “off the map” (we recommend a guide). Multiple caves and a waterfall are high points, as well as abundant wildflowers and the occasional bear. This hike is about 4-6 miles depending on route.

4)    Clingman’s Dome/Andrew’s Bald, GSMNP: Besides swimming holes, one great way to cool off in the summer is to get up high: at 6643 feet above sea level, Clingman’s is the highest point in the park and has an average high of 64°F on August days. Andrew’s Bald can be reached in just about a mile from the trail to the Dome, and it is a great place to see a view and look for wild mountain blueberries.

5)    Indian Flats Falls, GSMNP: Another slightly “off the map” destination, this route follows the Middle Prong of the Little River that cuts through the Tremont area of the park. An area of historical interest, it also offers gorgeous cascades and a steady, gradual incline to the Falls. The total trip is about 8 miles.


Joy Hopkins, Activities Coordinator