**DISCLAIMER – I have not done this hike before!! All information below is based on hike reports and other info I’ve found on the internet and not my personal experience. Please allow for give-and-take regarding trail conditions, ratings, and distances.**
This is a scout hike so bring your navigation skills and sense of adventure; expect to stop and consult the maps and maybe miss a turn or two…
Let's meet at the Ingles on Smokey Park Highway at 8:45 AM. We will meet-and-greet, form carpools, and head for the trail promptly at 9:00AM. We should arrive at the parking area at the end of Lakeview Drive between 10:15 and 10:30AM. I’m not sure of the parking situation but if you’d like to meet the group at the trailhead parking, please let me know beforehand so we don’t expect you at Ingles.
Road to Nowhere and Woody Cemetery (trailhead off Lakeshore Drive). This is loop-ish hike (two loops and a connector) on Lake Shore Trail, White Oak Branch Trail, Forney Creek Trail, and Tunnel Bypass Trail with the “Road to Nowhere” Tunnel and Woody Cemetery as our destinations. Towards the end of the hike (depending on time and how everyone is feeling) we will have an option to take Goldmine Loop Trial instead of the Tunnel Bypass Trail to extend the hike further. I’ve seen conflicting information regarding the distance of this route so I’m going to say that the total round-trip distance is approximately 8-10 miles but expect to do more. I’ve seen several reports that list this hike as moderate. Hike descriptions I’ve read indicate elevation changes that varying wildly from from 800 feet to 1600 feet, so I just don’t know about the elevation gain. There are at least a few stream crossings. Here’s one of the hike reports: (click here)
A little history: In the 1930s and 1940s, Swain County gave up the majority of its private land to the Federal Government for the creation of Fontana Lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Hundreds of people were forced to leave the small Smoky Mountain communities that had been their homes for generations. With the creation of the Park, their homes were gone, and so was the road to those communities. Old Highway 288 was buried beneath the deep waters of Fontana Lake.
The Federal government promised to replace Highway 288 with a new road. Lakeview Drive was to have stretched along the north shore of Fontana Lake, from Bryson City to Fontana, 30 miles to the west. And, of special importance to those displaced residents, it was to have provided access to the old family cemeteries where generations of ancestors remained behind.
But Lakeview Drive fell victim to an environmental issue and construction was stopped, with the road ending at a tunnel, about 6 miles into the park. The environmental issue was eventually resolved, but the roadwork was never resumed. Swain County's citizens gave the unfinished Lakeview Drive its popular, albeit unofficial name "The Road To Nowhere."
The pace and mood for this trip will be relaxed. I like to soak it all in, take pictures, catch my breath on the uphill, check out plants along the trail, etc. If this is not your hiking style, you may want to skip this trip.
NO DOGS. Pups are not allowed in Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
What to bring:
- shoes and clothing appropriate for hiking and the weather
- extra socks
- rain gear (just in case)
- a donation for your driver to help offset the cost of gas
- anything else you need to have a safe, comfortable, and happy hike
WAITING LIST - PLEASE READ ME - I'm going to try something a little different with the waiting list. There will be an "automatic" waiting list available until 12 hours before the meet-up time. This means that until 8:45PM (or there about) on Saturday, if a hiker drops off the attending list, then the first person on the waiting list will automatically be bumped on to the attending list (business as usual). At 8:45PM (or there about) on Saturday, the waiting list will be switched to "manual". This means that if a hiker drops off the attending list, everyone on the waiting list will receive an email letting them know that a spot has opened on the hike. The first person from the waiting list to respond to the email will get the open spot. The open spots on the waiting list will be filled in this manner until the meet-up time on Sunday (8:45AM). I'm going to see how this wait-list method works and constructive feedback is welcome.
This is a small group so please keep your RSVP up to date. If plans change and you are unable to attend, update your RSVP as soon as possible so that others on the waiting list have a chance to attend. Please be fair to and considerate of those on the wait list, no one likes a no-show and please don’t just show up!!