In Episode 34 of Smoky Mountains Radio, we try going for a 3-fer, visit the Nantahala Outdoor Center in Gatlinburg, and tackle our Spotlight Hike of the Week, The Boogerman Loop Trail.
Going for a 3-FER
A 3-FER is simply an attempt to do three different hikes in the Smokies in ONE day. In our case, we are going to do all the major hikes on Newfound Gap Road on the Tennessee side starting with Charlies Bunion, and finishing at the Chimney Tops. So here are the main details. This 3-fer includes the Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion from the Newfound Gap parking area, Alum Cave Trail to the top of Mount LeConte, and the Chimney Tops Trail. Basically, you start at the top of the mountain and work your way down. In total, you will clock 22.5 miles, and it is tough. My suggestions are to start early (about 6am) and do this hike in the order listed above. You can expect it to take between 12-14 hours. Bring plenty of water and food, and also a headlamp. You will likely do at least a little bit of night hiking.
Nantahala Outdoor Center
The NOC is the largest outdoor store in Gatlinburg and the closest to the national park entrance. It is 18,000 square feet of hiking gear and clothing, water sports gear, and even a rock wall. Basically, if you will need it to do something outdoors in the Smokies, you will be able to find it here. They have all the best brands and staff that knows their stuff. Check out the LINK for more information.
The Boogerman Loop Hike
This hike is a moderate 7.4 mile loop hike in the Cataloochee section of the Smoky Mountains National Park. It is located just 500 yards from the Cataloochee Campgrounds, so be on the lookout for the hiker parking. There are 14 water crossings over footbridges along the way, so you are always (almost) in the earshot or eyeshot of water. Occasionally bridges are damaged or washed out, so you might have to do a water crossing. Not dangerous usuallly, just bring sandals or Crocs with for that purpose. The roadmap for this hike is as follows: From the trailhead, travel .8 mile to the first junction. Take a right onto the Boogerman Trail and follow for 3.8 miles to the junction with Caldwell Fork Trail. Hang a right here and follow this to the end. There are great things to see along the way including old home sites, rock walls, and amazing old growth forest. If I could do only one hike in this section of the Smokies, this would be it. Check it out!
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