Cucumber Gap and Little River Loop Trail

MODERATE 40 reviews

Cucumber Gap and Little River Loop Trail is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Gatlinburg, TN that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

5.6 miles 832 feet Loop

kid friendly

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

horseback riding

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

no dogs

Great family hike! I would describe it as mostly easy as most elevation gain is very gradual. The trail along the Little River is wide enough for 4 hikers abreast with a mostly flat surface. Loose rocks under the carpet of Fall leaves
make twisting an ankle a possibility. Trekking poles are helpful. The view of the Little River is beautiful and the sounds of the water cascading over the rocks is relaxing. The terrain of Cucumber Gap is more variable in elevation and surface with loose rocks and ruts hiding beneath the leaves. Here again trekking poles are valuable.

21 days ago

Cucumber Gap is a lovely trail in the fall. Nice views and a pleasant climb.

hiking
1 month ago

Lovely trail! we did the loop with the hard part (Jack's Trail) first and it was a big climb. As we moved onto the Cucumber Gap portion, it was cool and mystical. Loved it and will do it again. Maybe every season to see the difference.

hiking
1 month ago

Really enjoyed this one, some hills, variable scenery and terrain as it cuts through woods and also goes along the river. My favorite of the hikes we did.

2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

This hike was pretty easy. We hiked about 2 miles into it and the 5 of us had wine on a huge rock in the middle of the river. This was certainly one of the highlights of the trip.

hiking
3 months ago

My husband and I love this trail. We've now hiked it 5 times. Most people start at the lower parking lot and go along the creek first, 2.4 miles flat easy hiking, but we like to start, and I recommend starting at the upper parking lot to do the hard stuff first (steady uphill for a few miles) so the last 2.4 miles along the creek are easier and you can even take a dip in the creek if you feel adventurous. Park at the top and the trail begins at the left- wide gravel path. You'll go past the dilapidated summer homes and eventually make a left at the trail head. You will come out at the lower parking lot though and follow the road back up the hill to get to the car at the end. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! :)

3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Started the hike on the trail going clockwise so that we could enjoy seeing the river the first 2.5 miles of the trail. Trail turns right then ascends up the mountain for the next mile before dropping down for the last 1.5 miles. Enjoyed the solitude as we only passed one other pair of hikers about 3 miles into the trail.

hiking
4 months ago

It was a great, peaceful hike. I definitely recommend starting by the old Appalachian club (which is absolutely awesome and I am kind of upset I haven't seen it before!) and walking it that way. It's all uphill to begin with, but gets much easier. I saw a black bear cub but no mom. It's not a trail you need to stay alert on, just remain aware. I will definitely have to do it again.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike along stream and through woods. I would go clockwise starting at the Little River side so you can walk upstream facing the nice falls and rapids. Once on the Cucumber section there is a nice lunch spot a short distance in with boulders to set on and nice small falls. Most cabins at the ends were dilapidated and unsafe.

hiking
5 months ago

*Facilities at Elkmont campgrounds, or the end of cabin row, next to the Appalachian Club*
I started at Jake's Creek trail head, because I wanted to first make a stop at Avent Cabin. I then back tracked the 1 mile, and caught back up with Cucumber Loop. I'm glad I went this way, because for me...the reward was experiencing Little River the entire 2.3 miles to the end.
This hike was lightly moderate, to moderate, with Jake's and half to 3/4 of Cucumber. Jake's was smooth, but had an incline. Cucumber had a lightly moderate incline, but was built mostly of tree roots...so be careful of ankle twisting. There were moments of complete, dead silence, once the sounds of Jake's Creek had gone far enough behind me. The sounds of the bird's songs echoed loudly within the forest. I heard a few "thumps" off to the side of me two times...wasn't sure what they were, but just tapped my trekking poles together and whistled a tune...just in case I was to come up on an unsuspecting bear. But...no bear. No animals, at all, actually. I saw 3 old piles of bear scat, a deer hoof print in the mud, and a Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar.
At the beginning of Jake's Creek and the end of Little River...you will see remains of some of the Elkmont cottages. Off the parking lot of Jake's trailhead, is the beginning of the ones they are rehabing, and are open for the general public to tour.
I will be back to visit this area, just to soak in more of the history.....this area is visually overflowing with it.

hiking
5 months ago

Do you like swimming in a mountain river? Do the crowds at Abrams Falls and the Cades Cove Loop make you wanna yank your hair out? Then this is the trail for you! If you do the loop hike, start at Jakes Creek Trailhead. Not only do you get the (relatively) hard part over with first, this is also where most of the Elkmont summer homes are. Built at the turn of the century, they are extremely interesting and fun to walk in the remaining homes and see a bygone era (make sure to only go in the ones closest to the parking lot; the ones on the trail are collapsing and rotting).

Overall, this is a perfect hike for moderately experienced hikers. You'll get enough of a workout to feel like you've accomplished something, but you don't need to be in super-awesome shape to complete the loop. And there are enough deep spots in the Little River to get a good swim in, but (at least on the weekdays) you don't get the heavy crowds you do at Abrams

hiking
5 months ago

Loved this hike. Beautiful!

hiking
7 months ago

Smoky Mountain National Park, Hike #10 on the map. This adventure took us out to Elkmont, just up past sugar lands visitor center in Gatlinburg. The Cucumber Gap trail loop was a great day hike. We passed several old Abandoned 1920's cottages that were once used by the loggers, and later when the park property expanded, the little cottages were left up in the park. Not only did we get to enjoy the spring flowers and the streams, this added historical bonus was a nice addition. The loop holds some of the largest trees in the smokies, and the tunnels that they provide made for a very serene but energizing hike. Awesome, highly recommend!

birding
7 months ago

Saw black-throated green warbler, ovenbird, belted kingfisher, tufted titmouse, black capped chickadee, junco, eastern phoebe. Heard pileated woodpecker, worm eating warbler and maybe blue headed video.

8 months ago

good hike. bad cell phone coverage. stay on the path.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Lots of history in this area of the park. Short hike

hiking
10 months ago

Very easy, very scenic. I've done it twice.