Location: Mount Kephart, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Date: Saturday, February 25th
Start Time: 10 AM; Carpool info TBA
Difficulty: Strenuous (8.5/10)
Leader: Haley Smith, SAHC AmeriCorps Outreach Member; Drew Stevenson, Highland Brewing
Registration: Pre-registration is REQUIRED.
Dogs: Dogs are not allowed in the National Park
The first of six guided hikes in our “Southern Sixer Challenge” Series will be to Mount Kephart, the smaller neighbor of Mount LeConte. Still, at 6,217 ft, the summit of Mount Kephart puts it in the middle of the pack of other Sixers.
Hikers will begin at Newfound Gap and hike 2.2 miles along the Appalachian Trail through spruce-fir forests. We will then take the Boulevard and Jumpoff Trails to the unmarked summit of Mount Kephart. Views are limited from the physical summit, but we will continue another quarter mile to The Jumpoff, the top of the 1,000 sheer wall on the side of Mount Kephart. While we will have to exercise caution from this appropriately named landmark, this location offers spectacular views of the Park, Mount Guyot, and Charlie’s Bunion to the Southeast.
SAHC holds conservation easements on several tracts in the area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Protecting conservation land adjoining the national park creates a buffer for wildlife, and helps preserve viewsheds in this unique landscape. Our organization’s very first conservation easement project was completed in 1992 at Cataloochee Ranch, protecting land adjacent to GSMNP.