3.8 miles (7.4 R.T.)
SKILL: Novice to intermediate
PROS: Old Growth Hemlocks, Creek Views, Wildflowers,
Robert "Booger" Palmer's Home place
CONS: Crowds, Road closed in Winter, rocky, wet, trail
NOTES: Stone Walls, framework of old buildings, remnants
of split rail fences. Best in the Spring and Fall (Wildflowers)
are few day hikes in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park that
are also loop hikes. Not only is the Boogerman Trail a loop, it
epitomizes the essence of the Smokies.
is the essence of the Smokies? Pioneer history, old growth forests,
free flowing creeks and wildflowers. Prior to the formation of the
park in the 1930's, there were over 90 settlements in the 550,000
acres that comprise the park. The park service burned or demolished
all but a few of these settlements. The remains of Robert "Booger"
Palmer's homestead is still recognizable on the Boogerman Trail.
Booger Palmer liked his trees and didn't cut many of the old
growth on his property. Add to that a carpet of wildflowers and
you have the elements of a great hike.
hike begins near the Cataloochee campground. Drive past the campground
about 500 feet and park in the next to the footbridge. This is an
unofficial parking area and fills up quickly on the weekends. You
may have to park on the road.
the footbridge that crosses Palmer Creek to begin. This
section of the hike follows Caldwell Fork Trail and is in a lush
rhododendron filled valley. The underbrush is like a rain
forest with "Dog hobble" lining the trail. Dog hobble,
a familiar plant in the Smokies, received it's slang name from bear
hunters. It is said that the dense vines of this plant would stop
hunting dogs from pursuing their prey. There are 14 other
footbridge crossings on this hike. The Park Service has maintained
all of these bridges
and the crossings are all safe. This section of the Caldwell Fork
Trail is also approved for horses. Please note that when conditions
are wet, there are frequent muddy spots that require circumnavigation.
hiking for 8 tenths of a mile, through a beautiful Hemlock and rhododendron
forest, you reach the sign for Boogerman Trail. To avoid a relentless
and steep climb, we recommend that you continue further up Caldwell
Fork Trail and take the upper loop of Boogerman Trail.
trail winds along Caldwell Fork, twisting and turning over numerous
footbridges. The sound of rushing water fills the air and the creek
views are "typically Smokies". Although there is frequent
horse traffic, that is a small price to pay to view this extremely
creek. Caldwell Fork Trail never leaves sight of the creek.
After passing the first sign for the Boogerman Trail the bridge
crossings become more frequent. The creek scenes are so beautiful
that it is almost surreal. Up until recently the bridges were in
a state of disrepair and many were unsafe. Thanks to the diligence
of the Park Service, the bridges have been repaired and are all
in good shape. The frequent crossings of the bridges are nice because
it gives a close up look at one of the more picturesque creeks in
the Smokies. During the month of June, the blooming and fragrant
Rhododendrons that line the creek put on quite a show.
Trail Information |
Continue the hike>>