Schoolhouse Gap Trail

MODERATE 46 reviews

Schoolhouse Gap Trail is a 4.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Townsend, Tennessee that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, trail running, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

4.7 miles
597 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly


horseback riding

trail running


wild flowers

no dogs

18 days ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer

This is one of the best wildflower trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s relatively long and has some significant elevation gain (at least from the perspective of a 60+ hiker). But it’s worth it.

I’ve counted at least two dozen species along the trail and there are probably more. The highlights are both pink and yellow Ladyslippers and the rare Shooting Star

If you want to see Ladyslippers go the first week of May. If you want the see a meadow full of Blue Phlox go in mid-April. The wildflower show is generally over by mid-May.

2 months ago

Loved this hike. It was the first one of our season and perfect for a 62 year old female! About 1.5 hours walking time. Nothing partifularly beautiful but a stream and at the end a campsite that we sat at. Elevation wasn't too bad. Very quiet when we went at about noon but lots in the parking lot and starting the hik on our return.

3 months ago

Nice wide trail.

10 months ago

This is a perfect trail for a nice walk in the woods. Very Kid friendly and fun to go in the creek.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

This trail is a nice walk thru the mountains. This is a great walk for families with toddlers/young children. There is nothing spectacular about the trail but it is pleasant and easy to navigate. The vegetation is very pretty and the presence of bears is everywhere.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Was a relatively easy hike with almost nothing at the end. Best part was when we arrived and got out of the car, a buck approached the parking lot and I was able to snap a few photos.

Monday, November 07, 2016

This was a great trail for a mid-afternoon hike. The views were somewhat blocked by foliage. But it was very peaceful.

Friday, November 04, 2016

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:, though apparently the trail closure has been extended beyond the original March 2016 to include this fall and winter.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Hiked this trail October 9, 2016. Nice trail - I think it would be a better winter hike so you can see the views without trees in the way.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

This trail was great for hiking with a preschooler and a toddler. They loved walking down to the water to watch it flow and throw pebbles in to see a splash. There were plenty of opportunities to see fish, dragonflies, butterflies and flowers.

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

School House Gap is a relatively easy hike. Shared with horseback riding.

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Rainy afternoon in the fall

Friday, October 23, 2015

Good trail, easy to traverse. We went to the end ant took Chestnut Ridge to the right. It was a smaller trail with great views.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Nice hike. Beautiful in the spring with all the wildflowers!

cross country skiing
Thursday, June 11, 2015

The mountain laurel was in full bloom. Loved it! Great for the whole family.

Monday, April 07, 2014

This trail is very easy and just meh. I knew going into it that there is no big payoff (it ends at a picnic table and someone's private residence). I was looking for something quick on last minute. The trail is very wide, runs a long a small creek for part of the way. No spectacular views or gorgeous wildlife. It is about 5 miles round trip and great for beginners. It's not a terrible hike. I just would rather hike to somewhere like Abrams or Spruce Flats and see an amazing waterfall.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A trail I always bring visitors to. It is wide and runs along a creek and not too steep. Good for newbies to hiking. Can get muddy because of the darn horses. If my visiting friends are a bit more adventurous I bring them on to the bat caves and waterfall.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

We started off on Schoolhouse Gap Trail. At the intersection of the Turkey Pen Ridge Trail, which is about 1 mile in, we took an unnamed trail leading to the White Oak Sinks. The trail head is on the left and marked with some fencing and a sign. This leads to a cave apparently called Blowhole Cave and it emits cold air continuously. Like outdoor A/C. As you approach the cave you can feel the temperature drop. In the heat of summer it's wonderful. The cave has a grill over it to keep people from disturbing the bats that live there and to prevent injury to themselves. This trail is very steep, and not marked very well, very few switchbacks to lessen the incline, tends to be slick in spots. As you near the bottom, right before the cave, you come upon what was once a meadow, overgrown now. I was told after we made this hike that there was a waterfall at the bottom also. Not readily visible, so be on the look out. Great hike and would recommend it.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Nice trail with great views. We walked 1.35 miles in. Several horses where using the trail so we did not choose to complete the entire trail.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beautiful Trail. This hike begins flat, gravelled, and wide; perfect for a family hike for children, elderly, or leisurely strolling without sweating. Along the trail, other trails fork off into much more a challenge to bat caves or a waterfall. Sidetrails narrow, cross a footpath stream, & hike straight up few steep hills. Multiple wide areas to rest. Wildflowers in Spring. Not much foot traffic. Waterfall is high and drips into a cave down below. Measures 5.4 miles from beginning to waterfall. Beautiful hike for photography.

recorded easinesd

6 days ago

19 days ago

4 months ago

8 months ago

9 months ago

Load More