6 Things You Didn’t Know About Bullhead Trail in the Smoky Mountains
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If hiking is your hobby, then you probably have hiked quite a few trails in the Great Smoky Mountains! A great trail that’s considered difficult with a roundtrip length of 5.9 miles is Bullhead Trail! This trail boasts breathtaking views of the mountains, and it’s one of the less traveled trails in the park. Check out these 6 things you didn’t know about Bullhead Trail in the Smoky Mountains:
1. It was closed for 2 years after the wildfires in 2016.
In November 2016, two juveniles started a fire near Chimney Tops that eventually led to devastating damage all across the Smokies. Conditions in the mountains were dry due to droughts, and intense winds led to over 18,000 acres burning in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge. Eventually, the wildfires were tamed but not before significant damage took place. Bullhead Trail was in the line of the fires and sustained damage that made the area unsafe to explore. The national park announced the trail would reopen in October 2018.
2. The trail starts out along a gravel road.
Most hikes in the Smokies start out as dirt paths with several rocks and tree roots lining the way. This trail starts out following a gravel road. When you pull into the parking lot for the trailhead, you will see a gate blocking a gravel road. Follow this road for 0.4 of a mile, and then you will see the trail on the left.
3. You’ll walk through rhododendron groves.
Almost all of Bullhead Trail is in a rhododendron grove. In the early spring, you’ll walk through hundreds if not thousands of colorful flowers blooming overhead. Plus, you’ll appreciate the shade in the summer! The 2016 fires burned most of these plants, but they are regrowing!
4. There’s a unique rock feature called The Pulpit along the trail.
While you will pass rock cliff facings and a couple of caves along the path, one of the coolest features on Bullhead Trail is The Pulpit. Located about 3 miles into the trail, this man-made structure is known as a cairn, or a stack of rocks that show hikers which way the trail goes. This particular cairn was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. At this time, the area was known as Bull Head Lookout. At The Pulpit, hikers will see expansive mountain views, and you definitely won’t want to miss out on them!
5. Take in beautiful views during the hike.
Since you’re gaining over 4,000 feet in elevation on this hiking trail, you’re sure to see beautiful views along the way. About 1 mile into the trail, you will come to a bald, which is a meadow on the top of a mountain. There are sweeping views of the surrounding mountains that you will have to see to believe. As you make your way up the rest of the trail, you will sporadically see views of the Smokies through the trees. When you reach the end of the trail, you’ll be amazed by all of the incredible mountains you see in front of you.
6. This is 1 of 6 trails that can take you to the summit of Mount LeConte.
Many people end their hike at The Pulpit, but you can actually continue for another 4.2 miles to reach the summit of Mount LeConte. This mountain is one of the tallest peaks in the mountain range at 6,594 feet. Bullhead Trail is 1 of 6 trails you can use to reach the top of the mountain. While the last stretch of the trail is difficult, it is worth it to see those beautiful views you won’t see anywhere else!
Now you know some of the interesting things about Bullhead Trail in the Smoky Mountains! Learn even more about trails and what to expect in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before you go!