For a surreal experience, head to Chasteen Creek in June. This entire area is noted for its firefly population that explodes in early summer. However, I saw the biggest concentration along Chasteen Creek. Sit outside in the middle of the night and watch the woods literally light up—it feels as if you were suddenly thrust into the middle of the Milky Way in all its scattered brilliance.
Start out on Bradley Fork from the Smokemont campground, due north of Cherokee. The path here is an old logging road, wide with a very slight incline. The first mile of the trail is spent walking alongside the eponymous river. The Chasteen Creek trail is to your right and after a more brisk trek uphill, you will reach campsite 48. This is a great place to spend the night. Even in summer it is relatively empty and this is the ideal place to view the fireflies.
The next day consider making a loop of Hughes Ridge trail, Taywa Creek trail and Bradley Fork trail. If you have an extra night, pop up to the Cabin Flats trail with its quaint wooden bridges and gorgeous campsite at the end of this one way trail. Expect typical Smoky Mountain foliage throughout the hike with birch, maple, tulip poplar, hemlock, and beech trees abounding. It is hard not to have an enjoyable hike in the Smokies and this loop is no exception.