Explore Black Friday - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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hiking
13 days ago

Easy trail. Get the best views from the Angel Falls Overlook. Next time, I'd omit the Grand Gap Loop portion.

a little over grown in spots, but overall good trail. twin rocks loop is probably the most difficult part of this trail. Would be better in winter.

I rated this a 3 because the signs were unclear and for 2-3 miles, there was heavy brush and the trail was poorly kept. After seeing a copperhead, this was very scary not being able to see your path. We saw a buck and many deer and the scenery at Cades Cove at dawn was magnificent. I would recommend taking a map and wear long pants. I think the trail is longer than what is stated, 15 miles at least instead of 12.9.

Great trail and beautiful river views

Hiked Angel Falls Overlook and the Grand Gap Loop over two days. There is a perfect camping spot where Angel Falls Overlook Trail intersects with the Grand Gap Loop Trail. It is behind the sign at the top of the hill. There is no water on the trail after the small rock shelf that you hike which has a cable attached. Make sure you fill up your water there. We used a mini sawyer filter. Camp site is about .5 mile past the ladder and rock shell cable are. Stumbled on a black bear twice while hiking this trail so beware. Beautiful views at the two overlooks to the right of the intersection mentioned previously. All in all a great hike!

Saw a bear, toad, Fox, deer, and snake

Hard loop hike joining multiple trails and old "jeep roads". Begin in Cove campground going up Lookout Tower Tr to Coffin Springs Tr. Take Coffin Springs Tr to the Cumberland Tr. Go East on the CT to the FHSP boundary. Return West completing the Cumberland Tr through the FHSP. The CT ends on a short stump beyond Ross Gap. Go down Ross Gap Tr which is an ugly rutted\rocky unmaintained dirt rd. Return to Cove Campground hiking through the FHSP on Rocky Fork & Flat Fork Creek trails. About 16.5mi. The Cumberland Tr is the focus of this hike. The eastern section is pretty rough with plenty of up & down. Nice views along the ridge up & over Bird Mt. Plenty of solitude. Nice hike.

A hard loop beginning @ Cove campground. Incorporates Lookout Tower ("Jeep Rd"), Coffin Springs, Cumberland, Ross Gap, Rocky Fork, & FlatFork Creek Trails. Lots of elevation gain & solitude. The eastern section of the CT is pretty rough. Fortunately the trails are well marked, but be aware that the eastern section of the CT is primarily blazed in red with few white rectangles (this was the old N Boundary Tr). Although this hike begins/ends on really mundane "trail", the Cumberland section earns 4 stars; just no other way to get access.

backpacking
8 months ago

This was really good for getting back into the hiking groove. It has a good amount of altitude increase to make it challenging but it isn't just incessant. All around an enjoyable hike.

Combines Chimney Top & Lookout Tower West Trails to create a loop hike. Moderate. Begin @ park office on Chimney Top. Two sets of switchbacks & steep climb @ the top. Rock houses, rocky bluffs & views along a ridge line. At 7 mi begin Lookout Tower W Tr. At this site there is a juncture with mult trails including 0.5mi up to the lookout tower. Lookout Tower West is an easy 6.3mi walk on a dirt service rd. At 12.6 mi enter campground @trails end. Enter Flat Fork Walking tr. (0.45mi) on other side of campground. Finish back @ park office @ 13.4mi. Nice walk through forest. Climbing/hard work front loaded.

hiking
9 months ago

Hiked this as combo with Angel Falls Overlook Tr. "Lollipop"out & back ,12.4mi. Most of the hike was easy with short moderate section on ascent to the Overlook. Well marked & maintained. Bridge over Fall Branch is broken but useable. Many good waterfalls & interesting rock features. Mult. superb overlooks. Mile section from Fall Branch crossing up to the plateau was outstanding. A lot to take in/enjoy.

Nice walk great view

Great hike and very well marked. Did not see a single person on the trail. You can hear the river the entire hike.

Easy trail but also gorgeous views along the western ridge. Very cool place to see the canyon, the forest and numerous views of the river far below while also logging some hiking miles.

Took this trail on a chilly & foggy December day. We were about the only people on the trail. It was fairly steep but very enjoyable.

The view at Peak 29 was a good distance and beautiful! It’s easy to miss. You have to crouch under some brush off to your left, but there’s a small trail there to lead you to the peak. Gorgeous is!

Amazing, amazing trails that lead to the back-end of Cades Cove. The vegetation, landscape and ecosystems found on these trails are different than other areas in the smokies. Many areas of the trail are wide and more muddy than rocky. If you go just after rain, be prepared to get dirty. If you get a good start early in the day, you can make it to Abrams Falls from this location, but know you will have quite the trek up and down many tall hills. Highly recommend!

horseback riding
Friday, April 28, 2017

One of our favorites rides... Peaceful and beautiful with scenic vistas, creeks all the way out to cades cove. We saw deer, black bear and a huge wild hog on the trails

backpacking
Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Long hike, great views. Bring plenty of water and a light snack.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Awesome place, the staff is wonderful and treat you like family. The trails are beautiful and peaceful. Good prices

My wife and I hiked the 2.5 mile Twin Rocks loop which is not well documented on this site. It starts at the Piney River Picnic area. We took the trail marked as the Twin Rocks Nature Trail and hiked to the Twin Rocks Outlook (1380', so its a 530 foot climb from the trailhead.) On the return hike we turned left at a trail junction and followed gentle switchbacks down to an intersection with the Piney River Trail which we then hiked back to the trailhead at the Picnic Area. A very pleasant short hike. (Easy/Moderate - 2.5 miles)

Warning: the Twin Rocks Outlook is accessed by a "caged ladder" and, as of Nov 2016, the lowest two rungs on the ladder were missing. Some athleticism is required to mount the ladder.

I give The Twin Rocks loop 3 stars - the Outlook is a very interesting rock feature but the views are a bit limited.

backpacking
Friday, September 16, 2016

I completed this loop from 1/1/16 - 1/3/16. This is a great loop in a quieter area of the park.

A video of my trip backpacking this loop can be found at the link below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSFV40e2-p0

Notes from my trip video...
A video of my 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip on the Maddron Bald Loop. I start at the Cosby campground (2459') and hike the Gabes Mtn Trail to Henwallow Falls (3140'). I camp the first night at campsite 34, Sugar Cove (3080'). The next morning I continue on the Gabes Mtn Trail to the Maddron Bald Trail. I hike along the Maddron Bald Trail and take the Albright Grove Loop Trail before camping the second night at campsite 29, Otter Creek (4550'). The next morning I continue to climb the Maddron Bald Trail passing over Maddron Bald (5212'), before descending down the Snake Den Ridge Trail back to the car.

Great hike! Great camping and fishing too.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Awesome place with gorgeous views !

Correction to my last post the Mary Wether Pass is actually called McDonalds Branch, not sure where I got Mary Wethers Pass from, oh well

So I'd like to add a lot of information about this trail that may be pieced together from other reviews and The Cumberland Trail Website. My husband and I did this trail 2 days ago. With that said: we loved it, however, keep in mind we were extremely out of shape at the time, so this review may not be as accurate for those that maintain better fitness year round. The trail was moderate, with packs I say hard. We had meant to make the whole journey, however limited time and a surprise empty fuel canister for our jet boil and our not completely up to snuff physical conditions had other plans. With that said we only made it 3 miles into the trail :(. Within that 3 miles the trail is mostly narrow, lots of Poisin oak, DO NOT ATTEMPT this trail if you're allergic! It is unavoidable. I am highly allergic to the stuff; so if you're like me just load up on the rhus toxin before you hike, that's what I do and it makes me virtually immune to the stuff. We did see a trail runner along the way but that's it. If I were trail running this trail I would break my ankle and fall to my death but anyway this guy was an Olympic trail runner I think bc the trail was so narrow at points if you stepped the wrong way you would fall down a treacherous ravine. Not saying the trail isn't worth it, the payoff is amazing, just not sure how anyone trail runs it. The trek to Piney River is a constant elevation change, it is subtle, but this is not a flat trail from the Piney River Natural Area to the suspension bridge that crosses the river. It is doable with packs when dry, I could see when it's wet being much more difficult. The rocky places are often encountered after the Mary Wether Pass or something to that effect, anyway it's the part you come to where there are a few boulders. The rocky places are not very long but they do move and it can be a little tricky to navigate with packs. We originally drove the 2nd vehicle to the Duskin Creek Trail Head, which is where the Piney River Trail ends in my opinion. Your car will get a little jacked up on the way to drop your other vehicle off there but my suspension was already crap from these adventures so I wasn't as concerned. You can drop your 2nd vehicle off at the Newbe Section, however I wouldn't recommend it bc the trail continues a ways up the dirt road across Duskin Creek and the trail looked obscure and hard to find. After you park at Piney River trail head, the Shut In Gap Road is tar and chip/gravel for 5 miles that feels like longer, then you'll turn to the left for the sign to Duskin Creek or you can go strait to Newbe . This dirt road is rough for anything except maybe a monster truck. You can take a car like I did just go slow, the Duskin Creek trail head has no sign, you'll cross over 2 concrete bridgeways that look like they flood most of time during rain, after the last bridge Duskin Creek is on your left, it's a small area for parking. If we would have finished the trail and not had to turn back from Piney River trail head to Dusking Creek would have been ~8.5 miles. Instead bc we had to turn back after our overnighter at the Piney River suspension bridge, we only ended up doing 6 miles all together. We did not feel like boiling our water over the fire the 2nd day without our jet boil. Camping at the suspension bridge was the best site I've ever camped at. There is so much room and you hear the water all night, it is so peaceful and the air is so fresh from the water cascading over the rocks. The firepit is huge. The area is amazing. I want to go back and finish the trail next time. I am hoping that the section to Piney River was the roughest as far as elevation change goes bc it would have only been 2 more miles to the logging campsite, which is your half way point, we just ran out of time the first day. I hear the logging campsite is even better than the one at the suspension bridge. If anyone knows more about the trail from the suspension bridge to Duskin Creek trail head, please do tale, I hear it's the more interesting part of the trail. I have heard you can fish at the suspension bridge, we saw one sizable fish under the bridge, the rest were tiny. There were 2 places to swim: one was out from the bridge a bit, it got real deep, the other was down from the campsite we were at, you have to traverse over the rocks to get to it but it looked very clean, there must have been an old mill there bc we saw huge old metal rods coming up from the stone. Our water filter filters, I think up to .01 microbes, however the water from the surface coming off the rocks tasted somewhat chemically even with the filtration. I had never run into this issue before, however the CT website did warn against surface water contamination, not sure what it entailed but the next day we found a spot down from a rock that was its own small underground stream and it tasted perfect, so if you can get your water from an underground spring source rather than the sur

hiking
Sunday, May 03, 2015

Christopher's review is spot on - not much to add other than the campsites were a little beat up when we went through each. Storm damage and people damage. Couldn't find a nice flat space in either, so we did some crooked sleeping! Depending on the direction you're heading - last or first day is a doosie - lots of elevation all day long.

hiking
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

This is a really nice trail with a lot of nice perks.. You have the sounds of the river for almost the entire trail and it is very well marked. I never saw another person the entire hike so I think this is a overlooked trail by many.. The only negative was there was a lot of large downed trees that you have to go over or under and for some that could be a issue. Other than that its a great trail I would highly recommend it.

hiking
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Great trail. Trailhead is on the left across the street from the picnic area. The Overlook trail forks to the left off of the Piney River main trail. Both are nice, the Overlook is a bit steeper but a more interesting hike with a nice payoff at the top. The main trail follows the Piney River and loops back on itself not far past McDonald's Branch.

hiking
Sunday, November 10, 2013

Good short hike and easy my 3&5 year olds hiked this trail

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