Explore the most popular trails near Jacksons Gap with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Jacksons Gap, Alabama Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Amazing views and amazing hike! I highly recommend taking trekking poles because there are quite a bit of inclines changes and most of the time of feels like you're walking on the side of a cliff

This is a really great extension of the Smith Mountain Fire Tower Trail which is a part of the Cherokee Ridge Alpine Trail Association system (CRATA.org). The trail begins by following the white blazed Fire Tower trail. We made the ascent to the old tower which once was the central tower in a 6 tower network of fire lookouts. We followed the white trail until we connected to the light blue blazed Lakeshore Trail. We followed this a few hundred yards until it connected to the Magenta Blazed Little Smith Mountain trail.
The initial leg of the trail is an easy descent through mixed forest. There are some nice rocky outcrops on early sections of this trail combination, and I expect that this will get pretty shady as the hardwoods take on leaves. The trail turns southeast as you hit the lake. At this point you can take a spur trail to Boat Docks and Island Hop trail (Island Hop will be really fun next winter when the water level goes back down and it becomes accessible again without a swim.)
The trip back up Little Smith Mountain is rocky and narrow. CRATA suggests that it is not for young or unruly children and I tend to agree with them.. While it's not as treacherous as the nearby Deadening trail, it is very narrow in places and the margin for error is small.
The climb back up is through areas that are pretty sparse due to wildfires from a few years ago (and maybe from the tornadoes too). It's a really good place to see Nature reasserting itself in new growth.
We had a fun run in with a nesting hawk. The hawk decided our chihuahua looked like a tasty springtime meal and swooped on him before realizing we were right behind. him. He continued to track us while we were on the mountain.Got some nice photos out of it though.
The return trip is pretty easy. A nice walk in the woods.
I'm looking forward to going back in a few weeks to see how it changes as the lake fills and the trees fill in.