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Kephart Shelter via Kephart Prong Trail

EASY 115 reviews

Kephart Shelter via Kephart Prong Trail is a 3.9 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Cherokee, North Carolina that features a great forest setting and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and trail running and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 3.9 miles Elevation Gain: 833 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

running

forest

views

no dogs

A nice wide path leads along the Kephart Prong (creek). Moderate uphill. Excellent for kids.

hiking
muddy
rocky
scramble
6 days ago

19 days ago

amazing 2 mile hike to the shelter... alot of water flow and alot of foot bridges. no traffic at all.. till reaching the shelter which is a crossroads for a few trails.

29 days ago

Great little trail. Don't understand why it's so lightly trafficked, but I'm glad! The four log bridges to cross along the way are really neat. The last third of the trail before the shelter is quite rocky, so good footwear is a must.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike in October with beautiful color. It had recently rained so the foot bridges were very slippery. Good shoes recommended. Great hike for all ages.

Great easy hike for young kids 6-7. We stayed at the shelter and had a blast jumping around on the rocks in the river beside it. The shelter had plenty of room and was in great shape! It is the center spot for several connecting trails! Great location.

Wish I had more time to do this all the way in. Went about a mile and turned back. Beautiful scenery. Lots of birds chirping and a surprise waterfall about 3/4 mile in. Beautiful scenery.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail, out and back is closer to 4.4 miles than the 3.9 as listed. It’s a well defined trail following a creek. You have to crossover four log footbridges which are doable for most everyone except perhaps children under six/seven. The trail gets steeper and more rocky after the third bridge.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail for any skill level. Hiked this trail with kids from ages 4-10. Beautiful cascading stream with lots of places for kids, or adults, to get in the water and splash around. The foot bridges were fun to cross and provided some great photo ops.

5 months ago

Very fun, cool bridges, didn't even see 10 people. In the future, will plan to try and get in the stream in the beginning of the trail. Shelter was great for a rest. Should be noted that there are a lot of rocks for the last 3/4 of a mile which was the only remotely taxing part of the hike.

hiking
6 months ago

The bridges were interesting and fun.

This trail is one of our favorites because of all the water on it. You follow the river almost the whole way to the shelter. It is all uphill to the shelter (so 2.2 miles uphill and 2.2 miles downhill on the way back). Beautiful wildflowers this time of year. Love crossing the 5 bridges on this trail too.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail, you always have the sight and sound of the little river.

hiking
8 months ago

Excellent trail for beginners. All uphill for the first 1/2. Beautiful waterfalls and shoals on the river throughout. 1/2 way through you will have a gorgeous overlook about 40-50 above the river. At the top is a resting place and more of the river if you need a water supply. One thing to say more than anything else - absolutely beautiful scenery of the river and shoals throughout the hike, as good as any around!

hiking
8 months ago

Steady incline the entire way up with sections of rocky trail, a few muddy spots, but very well maintained. Took our 6 & 7-year old boys and 2-year old daughter in a backpack carrier on their first ‘lengthy’ hike. Several rest breaks and a few spots near each bridge where the kids wanted to take their time throwing rocks in the water resulted in a 1.5+ hour hike to the 4th bridge, where based on time we decided to turn around to head back. Friendly passerby who passed us in each direction said we made the right choice since the end segment is the steepest. As mentioned in other reviews: the third and fourth bridges are a little bouncy but still very sturdy. Overall very highly recommended.

hiking
8 months ago

Great trail with kids- wide open space plenty of room to run. There are 4 log bridges to cross and the third and fourth are pretty wobbly, so be mindful of the kids.

9 months ago

nice 4 mile easier trail to catch a few miles with several neat log bridges crossing the creek. u can connect with the AT from this trail on past the shelter.

hiking
muddy
rocky
washed out
9 months ago

This hike was really fun! I totally recommend it. The bridges were super cool then 2.0 miles from the start there was a really nice shelter. It was raining the whole time I hiked but that made it even more fun. The was up was pretty hard but back down was a total breeze.

hiking
muddy
rocky
9 months ago

Loved this trail! I don’t hike often but my husband does and I decided to do this one. We hiked to the shelter and back. I’m young but out of shape and going up the trail wore me out a bit but for my husband it was easy. Coming down took half the time. I know I pass up comments that are all positive because I want to know everything and not just the lovely things. The foot bridges were super cool! The trail doesn’t have peaks and big views but makes up for that for the open-ish space of the trail. Only in the beginning of it were other people but we were all alone all the way to the shelter and there were some hikers chillin in it, they were nice. Not much wildlife but of course it is mid February. I’ll definitely come back to this one.

Sun Nov 25 2018

nice easy trail, very rocky though so watch your step or u might twist your ankle, footbridges were an exciting twist to the trail

hiking
Thu Oct 11 2018

Not for peak-chasers, but a beautiful trail & an ideal first-day hike. We really enjoyed this wide, gravel trail with four log bridges, mostly because it’s so pretty & quiet. It’s just a lovely walk in the woods, listening to the running water and the birds flitting about in the rhododendrons. It’s not “Laurel Falls’ Easy” because the last .75 mile or so becomes quite rocky, but the Easy rating is accurate nonetheless, just maybe the more moderate end of easy. For a non-summit hike, it's still very pretty and a nice experience. I would selectively recommend this hike for those who just want to get some miles in and enjoy a relaxing day in GSMNP.

nature trips
Thu Sep 06 2018

Headed out around 7-7:15 with pouring rain. Did not take away from the trail. Really enjoyed but due to the thickness of the woods got pitch black about 8. Was not smart staying out that late but wanted to get the trail before days end

hiking
Fri Jan 05 2018

My wife and I really enjoyed this trail. It’s pretty easy and includes some beautiful views of the forest. No really good views of the mountains, however, so pick another if that’s what you’re after.

hiking
Wed Nov 01 2017

Easy, beautiful, relaxing,

Mon Jul 17 2017

The entire Kephart Prong Trail is gravel and large rocks. Some nice views of the river that ran thru it but otherwise not very exciting. Would not do again.

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