One way Trail

Noland Divide Trail

Noland Divide Trail
11 ml
5 hr

The trailhead for the Noland Divide Trail is located near the entrance to Deep Creek, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This trail also takes you to Lonesome Pine Overlook. Initially, the Noland Divide trail starts with an easy grade, but soon steepens as it ascends for almost two miles until crossing a tributary of Juney Whank Branch.

Beyond the crossing, the trail works its way into a narrow hollow and soon completes a switchback and proceeds a half-mile back out of the hollow to reach Beaugard Ridge. At this juncture, the trail turns northerly along the east side of the ridge which affords plenty of vantage points.

The grade and trail conditions remain unchanged for the next two miles until a very sharp switchback exposes a narrow ridge where openings in the forest afford astonishing panorama views. The spine on Beaugard Ridge extends for a hundred yards, its upper end being Lonesome Pine Overlook, which can be reached by a 50-yard access path and is a great spot to sit and enjoy the views over snacks.

After another mile and a half above the overlook, the trail passes through a wet patch and then begins an easy one-mile descent into Lower Sassafras Gap. For much of the way the divide is narrow, along the ridge, with occasional views. A little more than a mile past Lower Sassafras Gap, the trail drops into Upper Sassafras Gap, where it intersects the Noland Creek Trail where the trail continues steeply into a rhododendron-laurel tunnel.

A mile above Upper Sassafras Gap, the crest widens to a flat, as the climb continues and the trail soon enters a stand of silent fir trees. A mile-and-a-half above Roundtop Knob, the trail widens and the moderately-easy grade continues until the trail terminates on Clingmans Dome Road about a half-mile east of the dome.

The Noland Divide Trail is designated as both a horse and hiker trail.