Schoolhouse Gap Trail is a 7.6 kilometer heavily 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, running, and horses and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.6 km Elevation Gain: 182 m Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

running

views

wild flowers

closed

no dogs

It has been reported this trail has a temporary closure due to COVID-19. Please see the park's website for up to date information.

hiking
blowdown
3 months ago

muddy
3 months ago

We picked this because we needed a short quiet hike on an unexpected nice day. Due to heavy rain the day before the lower portions were really muddy. This is just a nice, peaceful trail. Nothing exciting, but if you like a quiet walk in the woods this is an easy trail.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

Nice wide trail, frequented by horses. Nothing exciting to see but a very peaceful hike.

hiking
8 months ago

Easy trail, beautiful vegetation such as wild flowers and ferns. We took our time and came across interesting insects. It was a nice stroll to get unplugged and spend family time.

hiking
8 months ago

Easy for me, my wife and my three kids 11, 8 and 7. no school house on this trail. little creek at the beginning and you end at gravel road pretty much in the yard of a renters cabin. so a very underwelming end.

hiking
muddy
9 months ago

10 months ago

We tried this trail 3 times, first time we turned around maybe halfway to TurkeyPen Trail due to bear activity. The 2nd time just a few days later we took the trail to the WhiteOak Sinks and had to turn around because we couldn't cross the creek, water was really high and no foot bridge. so the 3rd time 2 days later we were able to cross and continue down to the sinks area and walked to the closed cave. We never got to any falls, could hear them though. Having said all this, the trail to the sinks was not an easy one, too many tree roots, very overgrown and no wildflowers at all. To say the least this was a disappointment on so many levels.

hiking
11 months ago

We turned onto Laurel Creek trail at the first trail signs about a mile in, thinking we would find White Oak trail, where there are supposed to be lots of wildflowers this time of year. Turns out, we actually should have kept going a few yards further for White Oak. We didn’t see a lot of wildflowers during this hike, but the trail was very peaceful, and not very busy for a Saturday! Went about 4 miles total, out and back. Steady incline, easy returning, the kids enjoyed it, but got a little bored.

hiking
Sun Jan 27 2019

Nice walk however no schoolhouse on this trail, just a residence with a hammock at the end. Trail is relatively smooth and wide. It is an old road that was supposed to connect Schoolhouse Gap to Bote Mountain Trail and ultimately Spence Field.

hiking
Tue Sep 11 2018

Decent trail overall but nothing amazing on our trip. We took our 3 and 4 year old and they did fine. Nice neighborhood at the end of the trail. Probably gorgeous in the spring.

Sat Aug 25 2018

This trail is a great next step up from dead easy trails. A little bit of elevation gain, but not relentless. It follows a lovely creek, then veers away into forests that change as you increase elevation. Note that as of this writing, there is a claim of bear activity that has the spur trail to White Oaks Sinks area ... in reality, it is BOAR that are the problem right now. We did observe some evidence of boar digging along side of the trail. Note that generally this trail is a really good all seasons trail.

hiking
Tue May 01 2018

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.

hiking
Tue Feb 20 2018

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.

hiking
Sun Jan 21 2018

Nice wide trail.

hiking
Wed Jun 28 2017

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

hiking
Sun Jan 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.

hiking
Sun Dec 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.

hiking
Mon Nov 07 2016

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

hiking
Fri Nov 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: 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.

Sun Oct 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.

hiking
Wed Aug 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.

Tue Jun 07 2016

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

hiking
Sat Nov 07 2015

Rainy afternoon in the fall

hiking
Fri Oct 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.

hiking
Fri Aug 21 2015

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

cross country skiing
Thu Jun 11 2015

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

hiking
Mon Apr 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.

Sun Jan 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.

hiking
Thu Oct 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.

hiking
Mon Nov 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.

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