Saturday, October 17, 2015

Hike Up To Brushy Mountain

This is a nice place to stop and take a rest. After a good rain
this little stream opens up and further up a water fall forms.
Before the start of my new job I decided to hike up to Brushy Mountain on August 26th. This is a hike I have been wanting to do for some time because at the top there is actually somewhat of a view. With all of the vegetation in the Smoky Mountains views are actually hard to come by. I hopped on the Trillium Gap Trail at the Grotto Falls parking area and followed that up to the Brushy Mountain junction. This takes you up by the Grotto Falls that I have visited several times but have always turned around. In fact this is the point where most people turn around as the falls are one of the most popular hikes in the park. I have been wanting to continue on for some time now and finally got my chance. It did not disappoint.

Having climbed Mt. LeConte via the Rainbow Falls / Bullhead trail I found this hike to be a lot more comfortable as the elevation gain is not as steep. For most of the hike I got that old forest feeling with lush vegetation and big trees. The trail was wide and I was surprised to find that quite a few people today had passed the falls and were heading up as well. The Trillium Gap is the trail the lama train use to get supplies up to the lodge on top of Mt. LeConte and on this particular day there must had been a supply run. Quite a bit of lama scat was all over the trail so you had to be careful where you stepped.

A tunnel of trees once you get on the Brushy Mountain trail.
At a switch back some way up there was a nice rocky spot covered in moss with a little stream that runs across the trail. This was the perfect time for me to rest and eat a quick snack before finishing the climb.  A little further up from this point you reach the junction with Brushy Mountain. From here it is just 0.2 miles to where the Brushy Mountain trail dead ends. This trail starts out very narrow and at some points one could feel a little claustrophobic. At one point you are in a tunnel of trees which then turns into walls of bushes. Once you get to the end the views are outstanding as you can clearly see the summit of Mt. LeConte, the valley and mountains beyond. The mountain lives up to its name as it is truly brushy at the top so you do have to get on your toes to see some of the vista is places. All in all this was a fantastic hike that is not too terribly physically demanding, and I would definitely recommend this one.

The vista from the top of Brushy Mountain.
Below is a compilation of some videos I took on my way to the top:

Click the link to my Flickr album to view more pictures of the Trillium Gap and Brushy Mountain Trails. On Sunday October 11th Mary Ellen and I hike the trail again. There were some fall colors starting to pop, but it was pretty foggy. I have added those pictures Mary Ellen took to the Flickr album.

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