MagazineSeptember 2009Really Big Trees

Really Big Trees

Old GrowthReally Big Trees: Old Growth Numbers

Percent of old growth forest remains in the Eastern U.S., which amounts to about two million acres.
50 Percent of remaining old growth located on private land with a greater risk of being logged.
100,000 Acres of old growth remaining within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the largest block of deciduous old growth in North America.
25 Percent of the Smokies considered old growth, with 16 national champion trees located within park boundaries.

Two Old Growth Hikes in the Smokies

Baxter Creek Trail:
Baxter Creek  Trail climbs over 4,100 feet on its six-mile journey to the summit of Mount Sterling. You’ll hit the old growth around mile two. Look for massive yellow poplars and eastern hemlocks near the trail and farther into the woods up the ridgeline.

Albright Grove:
Hike Maddron Bald Trail for three miles until it intersects Albright Grove Loop Trail, a 0.7 mile circumnavigation of Albright Grove, one of the finest examples of old growth cove hardwood forests in the Southeast. This grove, which escaped intensive logging, is dominated by eastern hemlocks and poplars. A short side trail leads to the biggest tree in the grove, a tulip poplar that measures 25 feet in circumference.

Places to Go, Things to See: