Lake Chatuge

Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains
Photo credit Peak Visor

Fires Creek Recreation Area, located near Hayesville, North Carolina

Fires Creek Recreation Area, located near Hayesville, North Carolina, is a remote and serene destination offering a variety of outdoor activities. One of its key features is the 25-mile Rim Trail, a hiking path in the Fires Creek Backcountry Area. Although primarily a hiking trail, certain sections are also open to horseback riding. The Rim Trail is notable for its scenic vistas as it ascends the ridge around Fires Creek and forms a large loop, passing through several high-elevation balds. This trail is marked with blue blazes and is accessible via multiple roads and trails.

The area also provides opportunities for excellent trout fishing, picnicking, and camping. Facilities include the Bristol Campground, which has nine sites equipped with a vault toilet and is suitable for horse campers. For those seeking a more primitive camping experience, the Huskins Branch Hunters Camp offers basic facilities. Additionally, the Leatherwood Falls Picnic Area, with a 0.7-mile loop trail leading to Leatherwood Falls, adds to the recreational options.

Fires Creek Recreation Area is open year-round and does not require reservations or fees for access. The closest town is Hayesville, and amenities include drinking water and vault restrooms. The area is managed by the Tusquitee Ranger District, with the district ranger based in Murphy, NC. For directions from Hayesville, travelers should take US 64W for 5 miles, turn right on NC 175 for 2.5 miles, and then left on SR 1344 for two miles.

The Rim Trail offers different sections for backpacking, each varying in distance, difficulty, and scenic features. These sections include stretches from Huskins Branch Hunter Camp to Big Stamp, Big Stamp to Weatherman Bald, and Weatherman Bald to Tusquitee Bald, among others. Each segment offers unique views and challenges, making the Rim Trail a versatile and attractive option for hikers and backpackers.

For more detailed information, maps, and specific guidelines, visitors can refer to the official website of the National Forests in North Carolina Fires Creek Recreation Area and Fires Creek Rim Trail #72, Fires Creek.

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