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10Explores: Elkmont Nature Trail

The looped trail is a quieter hike in the Great Smoky Mountains that's a little less than a mile and ranked with an easy difficulty level.

Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — With over 800 miles of trails, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has options for outdoor adventurers of every level.

For newer hikers or those looking to stretch their legs, the Elkmont Nature Trail could be an option with more to explore.

The looped trail is a little less than a mile and ranked with an easy difficulty level. It's a quieter hike with two small stream crossings and plenty of views.

Though the nature trail does not take long to complete, there is more to explore around Elkmont. There's the Elkmont Campground, a popular spot for campers in the park.

The Elkmont Historic District is also nearby, which features more than a dozen preserved cabins and the Appalachian Clubhouse. You can also spot stone fireplaces and foundations from other cabins that were torn down.

You can learn more about how Elkmont went from vacation spot to ghost town in our series "Elkmont Will Shine."

Some tips before you visit:

  • Let someone know where you plan to hike, when you plan to be back, what clothes you are wearing and what your car looks like.
  • Wear sunscreen.
  • Pack plenty of water and snacks.
  • Take a light source with you (preferably not your phone). The park said the number one reason people have to get rescued in the park is not bringing a light.
  • Keep an eye on the weather.
  • Pets are not allowed on the trail.
  • Be courteous to other park visitors.
  • Leave the plants and wildlife alone.
  • Have a backup plan if the trail is closed or too busy.
  • Check on road closures at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps
  • Make sure to have a parking tag.

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