Explore the best trails near Townsend with detailed reviews, photos, trail maps, and driving directions curated by hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Steve G. on Schoolhouse Gap Trail
Easy hike to park boundary with some nice views, though as another commenter said, winter would allow larger vistas. The Whiteoak Sink area is currently posted as off-limits for hikers to reduce bat habitat disturbance and I suppose an attempt to limit the spread of bat white-nose syndrome. See this link: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/learn/news/wns-whiteoak-sink-closure.htm, though apparently the trail closure has been extended beyond the original March 2016 to include this fall and winter.
great hike. we hiked whole loop and followed the trail the whole time, it clocked us at 12.4 miles.
there was long incline for at least hour or more up hill all the way, once we reached top it flattened for just a while before going down hill. the down hill was like walking in river bed, alot of rocks.
**Facilities are at the Cades Cove Campgrounds**
Hiked October 27, 2016
I absolutely loved this hike. This loop is totally underrated. I choose to trek it clockwise....I didn't feel like taking on Crooked Arm Ridge, up hill.
You will pass by John Oliver's cabin, built in 1818, which is a treat to have a little structural history thrown in to the hike. As much as I REALLY wanted to see a bear (I mean, it IS Cades Cove, and they are everywhere)...much to my dismay, I did not. Tons of squirrels, but zero bears.
Up on Indian Grave Gap, you will see an unmarked trail heading to your left (if you're hiking clockwise)...this will take you up to the spot where three cement blocks are all that remains of the old Rich Mountain fire tower. Keep an eye out to your left, on this little trail, and you will see a cistern, all that's left of a cabin that sat in that area used by the fire tower watchmen.
The fall colors are popping....and it's a gorgeous trail to view them with.
Did this as part of Middle Prong, Lynn Camp Prong and Miry Ridge to Jake's Creek. All relatively easy uphill to Miry Ridge. Didn't encounter much horse dung or torn up trail (on any of these horse trails). Campsite 28 was very nice...hunt for the hidden sites south of clearing and across stream.
This is by far one of our favorite hikes. The trail is moderate to difficult at some points. Mainly because we had our 4yo and the path gets pretty narrow with some steep edges. Lots of rocks and roots to help the climb, but the most rewarding part is the waterfall in the end. We had a lovely time climbing the rocks and finding an even more beautiful view. Luckily there were only a few other people we passed along the way. I would recommend this trail to anyone who likes a little quiet and seclusion with their hikes!