Difficulty for a casual hiker
Difficulty for an avid hiker
Directions to Trailhead:
From the Sugarland’s Visitor Center just outside Gatlinburg, head south on Newfound Gap Road about 6.5 – 7 miles. You’ll eventually see the peaks rise up before you (provided the weather’s clear) and the parking lot will be coming up on your right. If you reach the big loopty-loop, you’ve gone too far.
This hike is short and sweet and devoid of any notable markers until you reach the top. You’ll quickly cross the bridge over Road Prong Creek and see the newly renovated staircase the park installed to deter runoff.
Borrowed this picture Via
I’ve rated this trail as more difficult than you would think. Even though it’s only a short 2 miles up, you’re gonna feel it. Over the course of 2 miles, you’re gaining almost 1,500 feet. This is no cakewalk. But it does offer a really great reward. We like to pack a lunch and hit the trail early. It tends to get really crowded up top later in the day. This hike is popular for its accessibility, short length, and unique features. You may come across many people who seem wholly unprepared, assuming this is just a short walk. A lot of people have been hurt on this trail for that very reason. Short as it may be, it’s steep, often wet because it’s near a creek and has great tree coverage. And that’s just the lower part of the trail. Up top there are even signs posted to enter at your own risk. Below is a picture of where the trail “officially” ends. You’ll have to walk past this area where it gets really narrow to find the first summit. And pass out because you’ve earned it. As for me? All that’s on my mind is food. Like, always.And soak in the views. Sugarland Mountain will be to your West (below) while Mt. Kephart is to the East.Careful on the way back down….cause…ya know…it’s steep.