Looking for comments on the present condition of Breakneck Ridge.

I hiked from Cosby to Smokemont via the Breakneck Ridge trail about 35 years ago back when I was in college. I'm just wondering if it is feasible these days. I'm not quite as hearty as I was back then and if it is terribly overgrown I probably don't have any business fooling around with it.

Also, what is park policy on going off official trails?


Morgan Bearden

Rolla, Missouri

Views: 257


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Comment by Rob Cameron on August 9, 2013 at 2:17pm

That would be the one. If I recall correctly he was hiking in bib overalls.

Comment by Gregg Bostick on August 9, 2013 at 9:39am


Was that the "poor decision" hike?

Comment by Rob Cameron on August 8, 2013 at 10:40pm
November would be a great time. We need to be sure that there is no rain in the forecast, because the climb back out would be no fun, and you have to get back across Raven Fork to start back. I have gone both routes, although Peyton was still playing for UT the last time we were there. It is an amazing spot.
Comment by Gregg Bostick on August 8, 2013 at 7:42pm
What about the Monday before thanksgiving?
Comment by John Quillen on August 8, 2013 at 6:40pm

..we need to start planning this one.  I think November would be perfect.

Comment by Joey Bridges on August 7, 2013 at 2:44pm

point being, when it's time to check out three forks...
and if the offtrail bug bites this fall/winter season, i have a doozey in mind.

Comment by Andrew Sisson on August 7, 2013 at 1:43pm

If I am not mistaken Joey, Defeat Ridge is a different off trail hike than Breakneck Ride.  Breakneck ridge starts around near McGee springs back country site 44.  I have always wanted t do this and go down to the CCC camp and stay the night there.  I have tried to convince a couple of my hardcore SMHC off trail friends to do this with me, but they are mainly day trippers...  I am reluctant with a full back pack as I have heard Breakneck ridge is very difficult.  I have contemplated going down the spring/creek from #44 and then in the river/creek to the CCC.  I would like to do this but I know I am not as quick and nimble as John Quillen!

Comment by Joey Bridges on August 7, 2013 at 11:37am

and my phone had better ring when you decide to do that.

i'm also ready to revisit defeat ridge this fall/winter.
it's an absolute shame that this outstanding route from tremont up to thunderhead was abandoned.

Comment by John Quillen on August 5, 2013 at 6:07pm

I emailed my friend about it and this is his response:

Ed Lee & I did Breakneck years ago, even then along the top it was
extremely dim and hard to find. There were many champion size Spruce
trees at the upper section, once we dropped down onto the trail it was
easy to stay on although we encountered several washed out parts with
large roots to climb/trip over. Still worth it thou as the pool at the 3
fork creek junction is superb with a flat camp adjacent to boot.

Comment by John Quillen on August 5, 2013 at 8:42am

Morgan, I haven't done Breakneck.  Its on my list.  I have a friend who did it last year and said it was almost unnavigable.  Although the park likes to discourage offtrail hiking, there is no policy forbidding it officially in effect, to my knowledge.  We have done a considerable amount but not much recently.  The only places they keep people out are the Chimneys and Duckhawk Ridge up Leconte.  I would bet that Breakneck is one of the least used offtrail routes in the park.  And that is a good thing.  It may be time to check it and Three Forks out.

Great to hear from you!

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