Little River Trail is a 12.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, TN that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.
A nice wide flat road that narrows to a true trail as the crowds thin. Plenty of fishing opportunities avaialble up the trail. Backcountry campsites 21 and 24 are generally available year round by reservation.
Little River Trail
Hike Type: Out & Back
Total Distance: 12.87 Miles
Difficulty: Easy/ Moderate (due to distance)
Did this hike on Friday (11/18/16) during one of the worse droughts in the park's history. The water level in the Little River was extremely low. There were still some Fall colors in the trees though.
The trail is about as flat as it can be for being in the mountains. The elevation gain is very gentle, and the trail is well maintained. There are a few blow downs past the intersection with the Goshen Prong trail, but you can easily get around them.
Once the the trail goes by Backcountry Campsite 24, it get a bit hard to find at times. This was mainly due to the amount of leaves on the ground and lack of traffic
*Facilities at the Elkmont Campgrounds before you reach the parking area*
This trail has it's challenges, but the first half is relatively easy going. Once you reach past the Goshen Prong junction, is when the creek hops will get VERY challenging, and when water is much higher, can be dangerous/treacherous. Cross these creeks, if going to campsite 30, with extreme care!!
The water levels have been very low, due to the fact we've not had much rain...so they were more just boulder/rock hops, than wading pools. But when rains have fallen, and the levels are high, be prepared to get wet.
Also...as of the date that this review was written, there is a VERY large yellow jackets nest, just to the upper right of the camp/fire pit, just off the base of the tree. There were TONS of them....we stayed away to take our break, and we were left alone/not stung. Just be cautious before running around the site, looking for a place to camp, or relax.
The photos I will post will show the levels of the water, at the time of this review.
Other than these few points, the trail was very easy to navigate and hike. Steady, gentle incline, not very strenuous at all. Campsite 24 and 30 look to be very nice spots to lay your head, if you are making a several day hiking trip, or just an overnighter.
Great trail... Fishing was good.
The distance of the trail is longer than the maps or signs indicate. While the sign at the trailhead indicates that it is 3.4 miles to Goshen prong trail at Goshen prong trail The sign indicates that it is 4 miles back to the trailhead. From Goshen prong trail on to campsite 30 the trail gets narrow and steeper. There are several places where crossing the stream can be very treacherous. August was definitely not the time to hike the full distance.
It was amazing love the views that we saw I was able to get into water and it was cold
Hiked this nice trail yesterday and stayed the night at campsite 24. Overall a nice walk in the woods but if you plan on staying at campsite 24, its over run with honeybees that try to make your pack their own hive
Beautiful. You can make this trail easy or more difficult based on distance. Nice trail. I have seen turkey, a baby ringed neck snake and bear on this trail.
Lovely hike. Took lots of photos of wildflowers. We want to go back in the fall, its git to be even more gorgeous. The cottages along the way were interesting to see. I do hope they can be restored!
This was a pretty easy 14 mile hike with a few creek crossings that challenged me to keep my feet dry. The highlights of this hike were the wildflowers, the river pics and a small but exquisite waterfall.
Easy hike alongside scenic river.
Amazing hike alongside a rapid river. Super easy.
This is a great hike for everyone. I have done it many times and will do it many more. Very easy hike. This particular one, we found a warm day in November. Around 60 degress. So we did the full 14 miles round trip to campsite 30. Had one spill in the only water crossing that is iffy. So I had to hike out in wet shoes and socks. Not a problem on this trail Everyone should do this. This is a very popular trail, so there are crowds throughout the year.
Wonderful trail. Perfect for the whole family from 10-65!
Great hike, good for parents and kids, we swam and saw bears! Great time and worth the drive!
Did this trail the day after Memorial Day. Very nice trail. Several trails lead off the trail. Beautiful walk in the forest along the stream most all of the way. Has some neat bridges and lots of wildlife. Was supposed to be an active bear on campsite #24 but we did not see it. But we did see a rattlesnake, a deer, and lots of chipmunks. Made for a great day. Rated as moderate and I would say that to be correct.
Nice hike among old ruins of the resort days - gradually climbs an old road / rail line. We stayed at the Elkmont Campground, one of the few currently open so far for the season. We tackled a hike close to the campsite, the Little River trail which followed an old gravel railroad bed that runs along side the river. It was as if we were walking in a “fairyland” - moss covered ground, streams, fresh bloomed flowers, and a randomness of purple butterflies fluttering around. Towards the beginning of the trail, we passed some old resort cottages built in the 1920′s. Today, the cottages are in disrepair while the NPS decides what to do with them, but an interesting site to see nonetheless.
What a great hike, especially if you like a beautiful mountain stream the whole way! Since it's an old railroad bed, it's great for walking side-by-side and talking as you walk. We saw a curious doe about 4.5 miles up the trail at Goshen Prong.