Saturday, July 23, 2022

Little Greenbriar Trail Run (Great Smoky Mountains NP)

Little Greenbriar Trail Run
Little Greenbriar Trail to Little Brier Gap
Trailhead Elevation: 1,843 ft.
Distance: 3.70 mi.
Elevation Gain: 609 ft.
Start Time: 7:18am
End Time: 8:04am

Trip Report:
The Little Greenbriar trailhead is a small parking area off Line Springs Rd which is just south of Wear Valley. This trail essentially marks part of the northern boundary of Smoky Mountains National Park. The parking has room for only 4-5 cars. I arrived about 7:15am on a Friday and I met one other hiker when I started. At finish a third car had shown up.

The trail starts off with a climb and then rolls for awhile mostly climbing but occasional flat stretches mixed in. At 1.3mi I topped out and then dropped about a 100 feet before reaching Little Brier Gap. This trail junction was my turnaround for the day. From here you can go due south on the Little Brier Gap trail or you can go east towards either Cove Mountain or Laurel Falls. Either of those trails can actually connect a hiker to close to the Visitor Center for GSMNP.

After my turnaround as I began to ascend back up to my high point I sighted a bear that just walked out onto the trail about 100 feet ahead. He was medium-sized at most. I stopped and watched him and he watched me for a moment and then he decided to head back up into the trees. It was pretty cool to see another one of these guys out in the wild. I walked through that section for a minute or two and then went on my way.

Right after my bear sighting I bumped into the woman whom I had seen at the trailhead. I smiled and told her about my sighting and she thanked me for sharing. She didn't seem concerned and it was evident she was a local. We got talking about the trails and our travel out there. She gave me some advice on visiting Cades Cove the next day and it was a nice trail conversation.

This trail is fairly technical in its rocky and rootiness. Had to really watch my footing the whole time with trail running. The views were fairly limited in this entire stretch with only one or two spots that opened to offer obstructed views towards some nearby peaks.

Trail sign at Little Brier Gap

First sight of the bear perhaps 50 yards ahead

He didn't spend long on the trail before scampering off

I have a track and waypoints from the hike all contained in the embedded Google Map. Check it out and use at your own risk.

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