Breakfast in Dining Hall.
CHOOSE ONE HIKE Spence Field (via Lead Cove), strenuous, 10 miles Our route climbs up to the Appalachian Trail. Less than a half-mile further is Spence Field, considered by many to be a premiere spot along the crest of the Smokies. This high elevation grassy bald affords a pleasant spot to rest and eat lunch before the descent. Days with clear skies provide views of Rocky Top, Thunderhead Mountain, Fontana Lake, and more. Total elevation gain: 3,200 feet over 5 miles. Total elevation loss: ditto. Cucumber Gap Loop (Little River & Jakes Creek Trails), easy, 5.3 miles One of the finest short loops in the park, our route passes several old cabins in the Elkmont historic district before it follows the Little River through a beautiful second-growth forest. This section is as flat as it gets in the mountains and offers a chance to meander alongside a beautiful river for several miles. Once it meets up with Cucumber Gap Trail, the way forward begins to climb and crosses Huskey Branch, which is possible to rock-hop. Herbaceous plant diversity is stunning in this area. The final 1.3 miles is downhill. Total elevation gain: 800 feet in 3.3 miles. Total elevation loss: 650 feet over 1.5 miles. Rich Mountain Loop, moderate, 8.5 miles This clockwise loop begins on Rich Mountain Loop Trail and ends on Crooked Arm Branch Trail. The trail begins adjacent to beautiful pastureland and meets up with the John Oliver homeplace, circa 1820. Now the climb begins, following a series of switchbacks up the side of Rich Mountain. Cades Cove below comes into view in several places, then, as the trail follows a contour close to the northern border of the park, more views outside the park become available. The downhill trek becomes steep, rocky and chopped up by use of horses. The hike concludes after a fairly level half-mile stretch that returns us to the starting point. Total elevation gain: 1,800 feet over 4.0 miles. Total elevation loss: 1,800 feet over 3.7 miles.
Sack lunch on trail
Return by 4:30 pm
Dinner served in Dining Hall.
Presentations, music, storytelling, or other entertainment