Goldmine Loop

Goldmine Loop is a three to four mile trail segment located just off the end of the Road to Nowhere in the Smoky Mountains. Part of the trail follows a creek down to Lake Fontana and there is in fact the remnants of a cabin along the way.

Lake Fontana
Lake Fontana

The end of the Road the Nowhere incidentally is the Tunnel to Nowhere which has a certain place in Smoky Mountain lore by now. Only hikers and horses (intrepid horses apparently) are allowed through now. It’s about 1000 feet long and other than some fun optical effects when you’re in the middle of it, it’s really not that exciting.

Tunnel to nowhere

We were doing a wildflower survey along the way as well. Melanie is particularly good with the wildflowers and generally spends about 2 hours after a wildflower hike with the assorted wildflower books coming up with a list of things that I will forget the name of by the time we go hiking next weekend.
However, to commemorate all the work she did on it, here is her list from this 4 mile loop:
Common Blue Violet
Dog Violet
Halberd-leafed Violet
Sweet White Violet
Crested Dwarf Iris
Rue Anemone
Wild Oats
Mountain Dog-hobble
Star Chickweed
Canadian Dwarf Cinquefoil
Wood Vetch
Common Strawberry
Wood Betony
Baneberry (prob. Red Baneberry)
Highbush Blueberry
Yellow Star-grass
Pussytoes (prob. Plantain-leaved)
Common Blackberry
Smallflower Phacelia
Kidneyleaf Buttercup
Aster species (2 different unknown)
Vetch species (unknown, purple)