Go WILD with Smoky Mountains Hiking Tours with a trip on the Goldmine Loop Trail.
This is an easy hike from the famous tunnel on the Road to Nowhere down to Fontana Lake along Goldmine Branch. While its never been confirmed nor denied there was a Goldmine actually here, places in the Smokies were named for a reason…. We’ll let you decide for yourself, as we have our opinion on the matter which is backed up by stories passed down from our families who settled this area of the North Carolina Smokies.
The hike takes us through the longest tunnel in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At 1,200 feet long, the tunnel was a seemingly waste of funds and resources as Lakeview Drive abruptly ends once you get to the end of the tunnel. You’ll learn what happened and why this tunnel on the “Road to Nowhere” was never used and the road never completed. Once past the tunnel we turn onto Goldmine Loop Trail which takes us down the forest past old chimneys from homesteads of long ago. We hike down to Fontana Lake which is the highest dam east of the Rocky Mountains at 480ft tall. The emerald green deep water of Fontana Lake covered over many towns and farms when it was built to supply power for the war effort of WWII. Fontana Dam was one of the greatest kept military secrets of all time. We’ll tell you what it really powered, you’ll be surprised. Depending on water levels of Fontana Lake you can see the remnants of the old road bed and hand stacked rock retaining walls that were once part of the link between Bryson City and the entire North Shore area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
We see abundant wildflowers in the Spring, and occasionally deer and black bears throughout the year along this trail. As for Gold..we can’t confirm nor deny!
Half Day Hike: Total hiking time is around 4hrs.
Total Distance: 4 miles
Difficulty Rating: Trail is rated as Easy. Elevation gains of 615 feet with 397 feet gain per mile make this a great family hike.
Meeting Location: For this hike we meet in Bryson City, North Carolina
For Reservations call (828)-421-0172, or book securely from our website!