FATMAP difficulty grade
Originating from the Smokemont Campground, this 6.5-mile loop is an excellent introduction to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
It's gradual inclines and well traveled path make this perfect for all levels of trail runners. For those not staying at the campground, plenty of parking can be found where Newfound road connects to Smokemont Road.
Roadside parking is available on the west side of the river, and a small parking area is available on the east.
Most maps denote this as the official trailhead for the hike.
The historic Oconaluftee Baptist Church, sometimes referred to as the Smokemont Baptist Church, can also be seen nearby. Run clockwise, you begin with a brief stretch of double track before beginning a long steady ascent following the contours of a mountain.
Enjoy the flowering rhododendron that line the trail, and at times almost seem to form a tunnel over the trail. While there is no defined viewpoint on the route, some partial views towards the valley can be found near the highest point of the Smokemont Trail.
The trail also provides plenty of beauty through the endless flora and fauna that line the path. After cresting a high point, the trail descends quickly to a river.
Here, you will cross a narrow footbridge and return along the Bradley Fork Trail.
This section of the loop mostly flat, making for a relaxing run back to the campground or trailhead.