Cove Mountain Laurel Falls Loop Trail

MITTELSCHWER 14 Bewertungen

Cove Mountain Laurel Falls Loop Trail ist ein 15.7 Meilen langer, moderat besuchter Rundweg in der Nähe von Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Er führt durch schönen Wald, vorbei an herrlichen Aussichtspunkten und es gibt einen Wasserfall und schöne Wildblumen. Aufgrund der Steigung und Distanz ist die Strecke als moderat einzustufen. Es gibt verschiedene Aktivitätsmöglichkeiten. Die Route ist am besten von März bis Oktober zugänglich.

Entfernung: 15.7 miles Höhenunterschied: 2,975 feet Routentyp: Rundweg






teilweise befestigt






keine Hunde

3 months ago

Start: Cove Mountain Trailhead at Cataract Falls (behind the Visitors Center) Finish: Laurel Falls Trailhead (Returned by catching the 12:30 trolley) I'm torn between three and four stars. These rankings are, after all, subjective to what one is looking for in a Smoky Mountain hike. When I chose this route, I did so because I knew it was a lesser-traveled trail. I wanted the experience of hiking to one of the park's most popular destinations (Laurel Falls) by a way that practically no one uses: the Cove Mountain Trail. And with such an adventurous route comes difficulties and setbacks not normally faced on the well-worn paths most hikers choose. I started in the 6am darkness of a September morning, my headlamp blazing the way for me. Less than a half mile into the hike, I came to the burnt side of the mountain overlooking Gatlinburg. On one hand, the view was beautiful, the sky inky black with millions of diamond-like stars overhead. But it was clear this portion of trail wasn't receiving any clearing, likely to let the forest grow back after the 2016 fire, and the trail was severely overgrown. And that was where I encountered the spiders. With my trekking pole, I cleared nearly a half-dozen four-foot wide webs with arachnids waiting in the middle. I have no idea if I walked through poison ivy or past ticks, but my long sleeves and pants were protection enough. The hike clears the burn area after a mile or so and rises along the park boundary, near several vacation homes. The trail steadily climbs with only a few downhill respites. While the trek isn't steep, it is seemingly endless, wearing on both the legs and the spirit. Yet as the sun rises and illuminates the main ridgeline of the Smokies, the views are stunning, a satisfying reward for braving the overgrowth and the climb. The trail soon spreads to a comfortable width that once allowed jeeps and trucks to pass. Instead of dirt or rock, a green carpet covers the ground, brilliant emerald of moss and grass. This provides a pleasant walking surface, though pockets of poison ivy regularly appear in the middle of the path. The main deterrant along the way are more and more cobwebs, strung high and low and occupied by busy weavers who care little for hikers. I was able to duck under most of them, but I spent the majority of CMT's 8.4 miles peeling spiderwebs out of my beard and off of my glasses. When you reach the junction with the Laurel Falls Trail, you can walk 0.1 miles farther to the Pollution Monitoring Tower (labeled "Fire Tower" on the signage), but there isn't much to see. The door to the upper levels is locked and the summit staked with hundreds of tall trees. It's still a nice place to pause for lunch or a snack, which I gladly did after 8.5 straight miles of lonely climbing. It's along these lonely paths, though, that one should be on the lookout (or listen) for bears. About one mile before reaching the CMT/LFT junction, I heard loud crashing in the forest around me. I loudly cleared my throat and the crashing faded into the distance... in two directions! I assume these noise-makers were bears, and it's quite common to see black bears around the Laurel Falls area. The descent from the junction is rather steep and narrow, at least until one encounters the Little Greenbrier Trail 0.9 miles below the summit. The views along the way, when one can find them between the leaves, are excellent. After Little Greenbrief, the path widens considerably and opens into a glorious downward walk through a vast and open forest. The green and brown expanse was stunning in its silence, except for the loud "pop!' sounds of acorns tumbling from the branches high above. Take caution when you begin hearing the sound of rushing water and gleeful children, as the path zigzags along a steep decent creased with roots and rocks that are just waiting to turn your ankles (I almost turned mine twice). Soon you'll see Laurel Falls from an angle most never have: from Cove Mountain. The return to civilization is one most visitors to GSMNP are probably familiar with. The Laurel Falls Trail is a busy, crumbling strip of asphalt with beautiful views and diverse pockets of humanity, all coming to see the falls. I found myself speeding along, despite my sore feet, because I had already gotten what I had come for. I had hiked to Laurel Falls the hard way, and it was time to get a ride back to my car. Is this a hike you should do? That depends what you expect. If you're the kind of adventurer who isn't fazed by the threat of spiders, ticks, poisonous plants, and bears (on a trial where help probably won't be coming anytime soon), then this is a very doable adventure for you. If you want a path where all the cobwebs have been swept away by someone else, and the trial pristine as ever, no more than three or four miles from your car or some form of assistance, consider skipping the Cove Mountain Trail and its numerous little challenges. Happy Hikin

5 months ago

Fri Sep 07 2018

Very long trail. Biggest reward was seeing the Laurel Falls on the back end. Last 3 miles or so is alongside road making it very difficult ending on a slant with high grass

Wed May 09 2018

Good workout if starting trail at Park Headquarters. Needs mowed near top. No views from fire tower. Nice to wash feet at Laurel Falls. Beg for ride back to Sugarlands or take weekend trolley.

Thu Apr 12 2018

It’s a buffleheads trail to take in the Smokey mountain love the walk

Sun Jun 11 2017

Starting on the Laurel Falls Trail, the first mile up to the falls is paved, easy and crowded. That all soon changes once the trail continues on to Cove Mountain at a moderate ascent. Only a mangled post remains of the sign marking the summit (1/10 mile further, to your left) and trail head of the Cove Mountain Trail (to your right). The CMT appears to be the remnants of an old road. I counted nearly a dozen blow downs on the trail - some seemed like they'd been there for a while. I got the feeling maybe the trail wasn't on the Park's maintenance shortlist. While I didn't see another soul on its long, gradual descent to the Sugarlands Visiting Center, I never felt lonely. Much of the trail borders private property with houses and yards within throwing distance. Like anywhere in the Smokies, what's not to recommend? Not the best for views, but the trails close proximity to civilization while being somewhat neglected constitutes its own sort of unique ambiance. To make this a loop, you have to trudge 4 trail-less miles up 73 back to the Laurel Falls parking area. I did so, but do not recommend it, unless you enjoy maneuvering through thick, noisy traffic.

Fri Jun 09 2017

this trail is fairly easy to do. it's narrow and if you are bringing kids you will have to watch them. the falls are amazing though and you will get some great pics!

8 months ago

9 months ago

Thu Jan 03 2019

Fri Sep 07 2018

Wed Dec 09 2015