West Prong Trail

MODERATE 55 reviews

West Prong Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Townsend, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Horses are also able to use this trail.

5.0 miles
1,358 feet
Out & Back

kid friendly





horseback riding

nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


no dogs

20 days ago

Between Townsend and Cades Coves, I enjoyed the trail. Steady incline up but not bad. Would have never known about Campsite 18 had it not been for two other hikers who said it was a must see. The campsite was the highlight of the hike for me. Very close to the trailhead for the Schoolhouse Gap Trail if you want a two for one.

30 days ago

This trail is very easy to access from Townsend. While this trail can't boast of the spectacular views that some others can, it was quiet and enjoyable. Backcountry Campsite 18 was a great spot to relax. The rhododendrons were in bloom.

3 months ago

Perfect morning hike with minimal traffic. Caught a glimpse of a low flying pileated woodpecker that took my breath away.

5 months ago

I went in the afternoon and had the whole trail to myself. It’s a good hike, Campsite 18 is gorgeous.

6 months ago

I enjoyed this trail a lot! My girlfriend and I are in pretty good shape and didn’t have much of an issue on this hike. About halfway up we enjoyed the sight of a lone doe finding a snack on the snow covered ground.

There was ice on the trail but our hiking boots were sufficient enough to avoid any falls.

Pack a blanket and enjoy the cascade at the CS18!

Happy trails!

11 months ago

The hike isn't bad at all and Campsite 18 is gorgeous

11 months ago

Absolutely beautiful hike.

A previous review states this trail is not for beginners, but I beg to differ. If you're out of shape you can absolutely enjoy this hike provided you stop as needed to catch your breath, hydrate and cool off on the 1.5 mile ascent. Doing so will have you arriving at CS18 in about an hour and a half.

I also would recommend that if you aren't in good shape and want to do this trail, plan to camp at CS18 - but I'd recommend camping here no matter what kind of shape you're in because it's an absolutely magical, moss covered, rushing river, butterfly swarmed wonderland.

Encountered one sneaky Copperhead on the low side of the trail near 1900 ft, as well as a few Turkeys in the lower elevation, but no other wildlife was visible.

11 months ago

Great solo hike today! Not many people on the trail, which was nice. I'll plan a backpack overnight at Campsite 18 next time. Nice to have bear cables to hang your food, good hammock & tent sites with plenty of good flowing water.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Monday, April 03, 2017

Not a good trail for beginners, kicked my butt. All uphill for the 1st mile. Campsite 18 was pretty cool. Couple streams to cross. Nice hike though.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Good trail. Nice views. How can you ever complain when your outdoors.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Me and my friend backpacked into camp site 18. Had a wonderful trip. A lot of rhododendron on the way. Not much else, but still a nice hike. Camping next to the creek was very relaxing.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Great quick hike. Beautiful and quiet. We only passed 5 hikers during the hike.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

*No restroom facilities at this trail head*
This is wonderful, almost 3 mile, hike that gives you gratifying rushing waters at campsite 18. I'm not a camper, but if I was....THIS would be the place to be! The site area and river is gorgeous, and to have it right outside yous, and tour tent, what a luxury!
The trail up to this point was challenging enough, but not too hard. Steady uphill climb...once you hear the rushing creek/river waters below you, you'll know you are close. Lots of rocks and tree roots, so be careful with your ankles. The final 0.6 miles of West Prong leads up to a crossroads, where you can choose to continue onto Bote Mountain Trail. This last portion of WPT is a bit of a pain to locate....not clearly marked. So here is my best locale description. Once coming off the footbridge at CS 18, look to your right...about 1:30 or 2:00 to your right....that is where the trail starts back up to lead you to BMT. As of this date, there is a "caution...bears in this area" sign, posted to a tree...the continuation of WPT is to the right of the tree, when looking at the sign.
I hope this helps others. I spent many minutes wandering around the campsite, looking for it. :-)
These trails are horse friendly....so you may have to dodge some road apples.
I made the hike all the way to Laurel Creek Rd, on BMT....making it an almost 9 mile round trip hike, taking me 4 1/2 hours (and that is including spending time hanging out at the river, taking photographs).

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Great hike!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

This is an excellent trail for a casual day hike or and easy overnight camping experience at backcountry site 18. The elevation gain is gradual and due to the nice tree cover and generally smooth trail, it's an enjoyable hike. I hiked this in mid April and saw quite a few wildflowers, but the rhododendrons had not bloomed yet. There are a couple of small streams and springs along the way to use for topping off water. The scenery at campsite 18 is very beautiful and relaxing.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Sunday, January 10, 2016

Awesome hike. Great views and water crossings. Campsite is beautiful and next to a wide streams that our daughters got to play in. We did this trail in the middle of June a few years back. It was in the nineties and part of a longer route we were taking. One thing you need to be aware of is the Hornet-Like bugs that come out of the ground. They are attracted to the LED lights and will come at you. I don't think they sting, they just fly right into you. So more of a irritant then anything else. We stayed overnight. Great day hike or overnighter.

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

This is a moderately short hike, pretty much an incline going in most of the way. The trail gets thin in some areas and you have to take turns letting hikers by. We stayed at campsite 18 and it was nice, right by the river. We had a juvenile bear visit us that evening But it wandered away. Good day hike or overnight.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The first 1.4 miles is an aggressive uphill. Once you make not through that, it levels off and begins descending to campsite #18. The trail is challenging to find once you get to the campsite, if you are continuing on. Luckily, we downloaded the map before we left and after three try's, we found the right direction! From the campsite to the end of west prong is 0.6 miles. Unless you are hiking to complete the trail, there is really nothing past the campsite area. We hiked to the top and then went back to Campsite #18 and had lunch. It is a beautiful area around the campsite with the river and all the cascades around it. We loved the trail, but it would definitely be considered moderate. Well worth the challenge to make it to the campsite area as it was beautiful around there.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Awesome trail, took my two teenage boys and it was a piece of cake!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Awesome trail for my kids! We camped at campsite 18. This is a great hike!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A moderate hike but kids did well. The river views are great. Abundant rest and snaking areas along trail and close to Tremont Institute.

13 days ago

24 days ago

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1 month ago

recorded Track - May 09, 02:57 PM

2 months ago

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