On August 16th we went up high in the Smokies to escape the summer heat and enjoyed some cool temps and cloudy, misty conditions part of the day. Along Clingman's Dome road we saw a bear digging in the grass.
From the Clingman's Dome parking lot we hiked down Forney Ridge Trail to reach Forney Creek Trail, and down to Forney Creek Cascades and backcountry campsite #68.
Distance: 6.2 miles roundtrip. Time: 5.25 hours
The trail is downhill the majority of the way, and is extremely rocky in many areas. Some sections along the Ridge trail have been stabilized with logs and steps.
These fresh logs were so slippery when wet! I almost went sailing off one....
The spruce-fir forest smelled wonderfully of dampness and Christmas trees.
After 1.1 miles we reached the flat, green intersection with Forney Creek Trail. Downhill from there....
....and mostly felt like hiking in a narrow, rocky creek bed. A wet one, since it'd rained just before.
Yes, I've posted a lot of trailbed pics here but I found the terrain very interesting. One spot in the trail is a tad precarious, room enough for one footwidth with an incline on one side and drop-off on the other.
According to my National Geographic Smokies trail map, Forney Creek Cascade is the small rocky area you cross through in the sharp bend of the trail about 1/2 mile northeast of the campsite... not sure about that. But I am sure you should continue on down to the campsite to enjoy a more exhilarating water feature.
We passed two backpackers coming up from the camp who told us there were some nice swimming areas down there. We crossed the long split rocks and Forney Creek on this wobbly log. Almost there.....
Success! We reached #68.
This is really pretty site right next to the creek with several good spots to pitch a tent. Great atmosphere.
Some gear was hanging but nobody was around, must have taken off for a day hike.
After entering the camp you see where the water flows rapidly down a long rock slide with some impressively large embedded quartz lines. Although the depth is shallow, the force is quite strong. The backpackers were right, there are a few nice swimming spots here. I took off my shoes and waded for a few minutes; the air temp was pleasant but the water was too cold for a dip.
We had a snack and a rest before heading out. Along the way we passed two backpackers working their way down and a few other people. Upon reaching the intersection with Forney Ridge Trail (which leads to the popular Andrews Bald) and then upwards to the parking lot, we passed about 20 people.
A very enjoyable outing, well worth the effort.