For all you North Carolina Smokies hikers, here’s a quick trail on your side that even sounds inviting: the Flat Creek Trail. In all, it’s a 2.6 mile hike from the Heintooga picnic area to Heintooga Ridge Road.
There are some great sights and lookouts along the way as well as a few stream crossings that are said to contain native brook trout along this trail, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway and past the Balsam Mountain Campground.
You’ll find overgrown grass along this trail even through the shade and overgrowth of the forest, evidence of the early logging efforts that cut through a great deal of this section of the park before it was a park.
At mile 0.5, the trail descends to Flat Creek and the forest overcomes everything sight. Rhododendron, moss, and mushrooms are aplenty in this well-watered area.
Keeping on the trail, a foot log and a number of stream crossings take the hiker away from Flat Creek and along the ridge to Bunches Creek. You can even see the Flat Creek valley from wince you came at various points . Bunches Creek is passed by foot bridge twice before coming to the end of this Smoky Mountain trail and another successful jaunt on the North Carolina side of the national park.