Next Classic Hike of the Smokies: May 21 at Big Creek with guide Lenny Bernstein

Press release from
Friends of the Smokies

Waynesville, N.C. – What better way to get in shape for the summer than with a long, creek side hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)? Join the next Classic Hike of the Smokies for a waterfall and wildflower filled hike along Big Creek in GSMNP off I-40 near the Tennessee/North Carolina border. This hike celebrates Friends of the Smokies’ support for bear management by providing for the repair of food storage cabling systems in the park and is sponsored by Mast General Store. (photo courtesy of Friends of the Smokies)

On Tuesday, May 21, guest guide Lenny Bernstein will lead this 10-mile out and back hike which is easy to moderate, and has a total elevation change of 1,100 ft. Hikers will stop at Midnight Hole for a rest and a chance for the soaking of feet in the cold water on the return trip. Lenny Bernstein is a member of Friends of the Smokies, has hiked all the trails in the Smokies, and is the partner of Classic Hikes of the Smokies’ guide Danny Bernstein.

When hikers reach campsite 44 along Big Creek, they will see the pulley and cable system each Smokies backcountry campsite and shelter has. To increase the safety of both visitors and the bears, campers are required to use these cables to hoist their food and packs out of the reach of bears. Each year a number of these systems are damaged through use or by falling trees and must be replaced. Friends helps support this on-going project through a variety of means, including the long-time support from businesses such as Mast General Store. Mast over the years has not only provided equipment and advice to GSMNP visitors hiking, picnicking, and driving alike, they have also supported the Park financially in a multitude of ways.

Participants will gather for the all day excursion in Asheville at 8:30 a.m. or Waynesville at 9:00 a.m. In support of the Smokies Trails Forever program, a donation of $10 for current members and $35 for non-members is requested. Non-members receive a complimentary membership to Friends of the Smokies. Members who bring a friend hike for free.

To register for this hike, the two-day overnight Fontana Lake Experience in June, or any Classic Hike held monthly on the third Tuesday, contact Friends of the Smokies at or 828-452-0720. For more information and a complete list of the Classic Hikes, visit Information about support for trail improvements in GSMNP may be found at

Since 1993, the not-for-profit Friends of the Smokies organization has raised more than $37 million to help maintain Great Smoky Mountains National Park as a crown jewel of the national park system, including the establishment of the $4 million Trails Forever endowment to improve Smoky Mountain hiking trails in perpetuity.

About Margaret Williams
Editor Margaret Williams first wrote for Xpress in 1994. An Alabama native, she has lived in Western North Carolina since 1987 and completed her Masters of Liberal Arts & Sciences from UNC-Asheville in 2016. Follow me @mvwilliams

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