Back in February, we took our last cold weather hike - the Lumber Ridge Trail, beginning in Tremont. This trek can best be described as a nice, peaceful stroll through the woods. Winter hikes are different in that most of the noise from birds and other wildlife is not present, leaving you with an almost deafening silence. If you're looking for true solitude, winter hikes are where you'll find it.
Lumber Ridge Trail:
Trailhead: Starting from the Townsend Y-intersection, drive west on Laurel Creek Road towards Cades Cove. Turn left toward the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. In another ~2 miles, turn left into the Great Smoky Mountains Institute. After crossing the bridge, there will be a small parking area. To find the trailhead, walk up the gravel road just beyond the parking area. The sign for the trail is to the left and behind the lodging building.
Round Trip Distance: 8.1 miles - the turnaround point for this trail is the crossroads between Meigs Mountain and Meigs Creek trails.
Total Elevation Gain: 1,524 feet
Gotta have it.
This is where you will park for this trail.
After walking up a gravel road for a short bit, you'll see a larger building with the trailhead going up the hill behind it.
Meigs Creek Trail is the junction where you will turn around. 4 miles out, 4 miles back!
I do maths.
It was a beautiful, crisp, and cold COLD day!
Because there were no leaves on the trees, the views were great all along the way.
Beautiful and quiet.
Absolutely perfect sky.
Nothing can sneak up on you during a winter hike - there's not a lot of places to hide!
Finally at the end! We usually eat our lunch at the halfway point of our hikes, but at this one, there weren't a lot of great seating options available. So we headed back up the trail about a quarter mile..
.. to this curve in the trail.
And this convenient log that acted as a perfect bench! As a bonus, it was in the sunshine, which we needed because it was freezing!
Matt brought a thermos filled with hot cocoa, and there is nothing like a hot beverage when you've been hiking in frigid air all day.
..and that's all she wrote! Overall, great hike. The trail is in wonderful condition and there aren't any tricky elements other than a few very shallow water crossings caused by run-off from the mountain.