Summary: Winter is the perfect time to enjoy these low elevation horse trails. Your hike will begin at the Caldwell Fork Trailhead. The first three miles will be an easy climb as you follow Caldwell Fork Creek. Turn right at Big Fork Ridge Trail and follow this trail to Rough Fork Road where if you're lucky you can view the Elk in the field adjacent to the parking lot. A short road walk you begin the Rough Fork Trail, about 1 mile, stop and visit the Woody Place. A half-mile later is Campsite #40 the end of Day 1. You will warm up quick as you break camp as the climb continues on the Rough Fork Trail for about 1.4 miles until you reach the Caldwell Fork Trail (turn left). A little more than a mile you reach the spur trail (turn left) to the "Big Poplars" a must side trip. Backtrack to the Caldwell Fork Trail (turn left) and continue until you reach the Boogerman Trail. Turn right as this will loop around to the Caldwell Fork Trail. Turn right to return to the car.
Trailhead: From I-40, take exit 20 (NC-276) west to Cove Creek Rd. Follow this road north and then west about 7.0 miles toward the Cataloochee Ranger station. The trailhead lies to the left between Cataloochee campground and Ranger Station.
Free Backcountry Permit required at Ranger Sation
Backcountry info (865) 436-1297
Note: this can be an easy 2 day backpack trip or a long dayhike in spring or fall (Lat:35.63132 Lon:-83.08813)
Trail Guides for Caldwell Fork Loop:
Day & Overnight hikes in GSMNP
by Johhny Malloy (Menasha Ridge Press)
Day Hikes in GSMNP
by Johnny Molloy ()
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Horses,
Ranger Contact: Cataloochee Ranger Station (865) 436-1200
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Bobby Trotter, who has posted 74 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Submit your own review
Reviewed by CM on 9/28/2012
I hiked the Boogerman Loop via Caldwell Fork (about 7ish miles) and perhaps I've just come to expect more out of my hikes, but my group and I found this hike to be so-so... Hiked 9/27/12 (leaves still on trees so no distance views), the "old growth" trees were not as plentiful or awe-inspiring as expected, and maybe it was just a dry spell but this section of Smokies is not as lush as others I've hiked. To each their own, I suppose, but I'd not recommend the Boogerman Loop to anyone who enjoys the feeling of having made it to something notable or photogenic. Maybe all the great reviews that prompted me to try it out were written by people who are easily excited? Ive never left a hike this underwhelmed. Yawn
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