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Some of the Smokies’ best backcountry routes feature repeated creek crossings, and only become reasonable with fall’s low water. One of the best is a 19-mile loop that begins with the broad views of Clingmans Dome and Andrews Bald, then runs down Forney Ridge to Springhouse Branch, and on to the brook-trout-filled waters of Forney Creek. Birch, maple and hemlock line the creek, as the trail makes 7 crossings, typically knee-deep. It’s a challenging route, but it is made worthwhile by the remote feeling of the valley, and the charm of the tumbling creek. Watch for the Forney Creek Cascades, which provides a grand finale near the top.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park: (865) 436-1200, www.nps.gov/grsm/