Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — From wildlife to waterfalls to history and more, the over 800 miles of trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offer options for outdoor adventurers of every level.
A hike that combines the national park's natural beauty with historic sites is the Little River Trail.
The trail is roughly 5 miles roundtrip and ranked with an easy to moderate difficulty level with some elevation gain. It runs along the Little River and has stone fireplaces and foundations of historic cabins along the way. Visitors can see Huskey Branch Falls just over two miles in.
However, it does continue past the falls to popular camping areas and intersects with Cucumber Gap Trail, Huskey Gap Trail, Goshen Prong Trail and Rough Creek Trail for longer treks.
The Little River Trail is in the Elkmont Historic District, which features more than a dozen preserved cabins and the Appalachian Clubhouse.
You can learn more about how Elkmont went from vacation spot to ghost town in our series "Elkmont Will Shine."
What to expect on the trail:
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 and bug spray.
- 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.