The Jump Off
Mileage: 6.5 Miles Directions 35.610627,-83.426142
Rise: 1450 ft Facebook
Hike Time: 4 Hrs (3kids) Weather
Significance: Views, Appalachian Trail.
Printable map Flaming Arrow Campground
Here is some of what you need to know: This is my worst page ever, we never made it to the jump-off. I had read some wrong information and we turned around about 0.2 miles short of the vista. Pfffft. Regardless you should complete what I did not and send me a photo.
2. Click on the flags for more information
3. Click on the pictures to make them large
The hike starts out at Newfound Gap which is placed on a mountain road between Gatlinburg TN and Cherokee NC. The parking area is large and busy due to the incredible roadside vista. Most of the people you see are not going hiking but the trail is heavily traveled. You will take the Appalachian trail (AT) that starts next to the large stone overlook.
It is a steady climb upwards gaining a little over 1000 ft in elevation over 2.8 miles. Their are few obstacles but nothing major. In a few places the trees open up for some views but you are mainly walking through forest.
At about 2.8 miles you will leave the AT for the Boulevard trail. The trails are well marked so their should be no question as to where you need to go. This is the road less traveled as the crowds seemed to favor the Appalachian trail.
It is a very short distance from the start of the Boulevard trail the start of the Jump-Off Trail. At this point the elevation is well over 6000′ feet; in the northern US we would be above the tree line but here we were still surrounded by forest.
Here is where I messed up: We hiked into the Jump off trail about 0.3 miles which is what I was told to do, we saw some ok vistas. I was not convinced this was the Jump Off so I ran ahead a little bit and saw only more forest. The kids were tired and getting cranky (they had colds) so we turned around. When I got home and looked everything over I saw that we should have gone an additional 0.2 miles to what looks like an incredible place to view the Smoky Mountain Wilderness. So I blew it, sorry.
In spite of our failure we had a good time and we saw some cool mountains. Most of our hiking previous to this has been in the north east United States and I will say that North Carolina and Tennessee are nothing what I expected. These hills are huge and they seem to go on forever. Our next trip was planned soon after and I cannot wait to get back.