Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — With over 800 miles of trails filled with scenic views, wildlife and history, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the outdoor adventure options in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Fortunately, there are trails close to the park entrances to test out before exploring the rest of the Smokies. Just outside of Gatlinburg, along Cherokee Orchard Road, is the Twin Creeks Trail.
At 4.5 miles roundtrip, the out-and-back trail is considered an easy hike and is often combined with the looped Noah "Bud" Ogle Cabin Nature Trail.
The Bud Ogle Cabin is a preserved log cabin, barn and mill built during the 1880s.
There is limited parking at the trailhead. Some people recommend parking at Mynatt Park in Gatlinburg or in a small parking loop a little further up Cherokee Orchard Road, which ultimately leads to the popular Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. If you start from the parking loop on Cherokee Orchard Road, you can access Twin Creeks Trail from Grassy Branch Trail.
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.
- Dress in layers.
- 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.