The hike to Bone Valley Trail is a rather easy 1.8 miler and good one for beginning hikers or people just wanting to make an afternoon of it in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The path starts at the Hazel Creek Trail, Campsite No. 83 to be specific, on the North Carolina side of the park. Getting there is the real fun part. The suggested way is to take a ferry across Fontana Lake to Proctor, then hike 5.3 miles up Hazel Creek to the actual Bone Valley Trail. Easier said than done, right? People say it’s worth the effort, we’ll let you decide.
As you start out from the trailhead, you’ll cross a wooden bridge over Bone Valley Creek before proceeding upstream. The trail follows an old railroad bed before you approach the first ford in the trail. It’s said that water is about knee deep during most seasons and when there hasn’t been a major weather happening.
White Walnut Cove is passed between the first and second fords. This place was at one time said to grow grapes which bears, others animals, as well as settlers vied for in the regions more primitive years.
Mill Creek is crossed after passing a former homestead and connecting farm. The plant Beebalm can be found growing here in June and July.
You come upon the Hall Cabin soon thereafter, following an appearance by the creek a fourth time. The cabin was originally located 200 feet from its current location. Not only is it on the Historic Register of Historic Places, it’s the most remote historic structure in the national park.
The Hall Cemetery is reached about 0.5 miles north of the Hall Cabin. This is unofficially the conclusion of the Bone Valley Trail, though many people sit around and peruse the area of the Hall Cemetery reflecting on the life and times of the area’s earliest settlers. It’s a quiet area and one of the more undisturbed spots in the park.