We hiked to Ramsey Cascades in the Greenbriar section of the GSMNP yesterday. The trail is 4.0 miles long resulting in an even 8 mile round trip. We had rain showers on and off for the entire day but fortunately it was seasonably warm for the end of February with temps in the 60's.
The first 1-1/2 miles of the trail follows a gentle climb and smooth foot path along side the Middle Prong of the Little Pigeon River. The remaining 2-1/2 miles of trail climbs along the Ramsey Prong. Here is where the slippery roots and rocks join with a more aggressive elevation gain making the hike a little more challenging.
Several old growth giants line the trail, including some massive tulip poplars and eastern hemlocks. The trail is in good shape with lots of stone steps and a couple of long creek crossing foot bridges. It's evident that a lot of work has been done on this trail over the years.
At the top of the trail is the beautiful Ramsey Cascades. It is a 90 foot cascading waterfall and according to the little brown guidebook, Hiking Trails Of The Smokies Ramsey Cascades is the highest waterfall in the park accessible by trail. It really is a spectacular sight and I'm sure that it gets crowded in the summer. There is a huge flat rock in front of the falls positioned perfectly for viewing. We didn't eat lunch there because of the cool spray and wind coming off the falls but I'll bet in sunnier weather that would be the spot.
This trail gains around 2200' in 4 miles. Black Betty rated it difficult. I would give it 2-3 Snickers bars using Nimblewill Nomad's rating system. The rain did make the roots slippery and Black Betty fell on the way down spraining her knee. She was able to walk out so lucky for her I didn't have to tote her like a sack of potatoes.
The Freight Hoppers: Bio After more than a decade The Freight Hoppers have released their eagerly awaited fourth album Mile Marker. This collection includes music that was first recorded in the late 1920's and early 1930's, and spans geographically from Mississippi to West Virginia. The Freight Hoppers play hard driving old time music with an emotional, raw excitement that keeps one foot planted in the past and the other in the present. Of course that’s only when they keep their feet still, for this is high energy dance music of an older day played like there's no tomorrow. Finding their passion from a love of stringband music of the 1920's and 30's, The Freight Hoppers have been entertaining crowds of fans at festivals and music halls alike as they travel around the country. The heart of the band is held together by the powerhouse fiddle and banjo combo of David Bass and Frank Lee, while the rhythm section of Isaac Deal on guitar and Bradley Adams on string bass keep the groove moving. Add in the vocal duo of Frank and Isaac, and you've got yourself one of the most exciting traditional bands to come out of the woodwork. Based out of the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, The Freight Hoppers draw from a deep source of rural southern music for their inspiration, and are proud to present music that is still very much alive and meaningful to today's world.
The Freight Hoppers are:
David Bass fiddle
Frank Lee banjo, vocal
Isaac Deal guitar, vocal
Bradley Adams string bass