Harmon Den Mountain

Harmon Den is a mountain along the NC/TN border just south of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  It actually has its own exit off of I-40, which is just a gravel road that leads down the valley towards Max Patch.  We hiked from Brown Gap (accessible via a rough road up from Harmon Den) to Deep Gap at the base of Snowbird Mountain and then back along the Appalachian Trail.

In late April, this highlight of this hike were the wildflowers, particularly trillium which were prolific on the wetter, cooler slopes of the mountains.
Pink Trillium

The top of Harmon Den Mountain, a spot also known as Hawk’s Roost in some AT guides is not as impressive as nearby mountains such as Max Patch and Snowbird.  Even without leaves on the trees, the views are good but not fantastic. The Smokies, Newfound and Snowbird mountains surround Harmon Den. 
Red Trillium

From Harmon Den it’s a steady long descent to Deep Gap (one of dozens of gaps with the same creative name in and around the Smokies).  Deep Gap itself is a nice shaded campsite.  An old abandoned logging road led up to the gap from the Tennessee side so sections are nicely graded.  Groundhog Creek flows into North Carolina from the gap and the Groundhog Creek AT shelter is just a quarter mile east of the gap.

Harmon Den AT