Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip

Day Hike - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Day 3 (of 4) hikes in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Highlights of this easy/moderate Cucumber Loop hike are wildflowers, historical buildings, streams and a waterfall.

  • Easy/Moderate
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 5.43 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 999 ft

 Little River Trailhead in Elkmont, near Gatlinburg at 8:30 am.

35°39'13.1"N 83°34'48.7"W - Google Maps

There is no entrance fee for the Great Smoky Mountains, but a parking pass is required.  $5/day or $15/week.

Fees & Passes - Great Smoky Mountains National Park (U.S. National Park Service) (nps.gov)

 

This is the third of 4 day hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from May 5-8th.  The trails are designed to showcase the best views, wildflowers, waterfalls, geology and history that this park has to offer.   The timing of the trip coincides with the Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage on May 1-4, which the leader will be attending.  This is an event featuring professionally guided walks, exhibits, and other learning opportunities to explore the region's rich natural and cultural resources including fungi, ferns, wildflowers, trees and shrubs, medicinal plants, insects (terrestrial and aquatic), salamanders and snakes, birds, mammals (bats to bears), journaling, art and photography, and park history - and would provide great background knowledge for the proceeding hikes.  Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

Pace will be moderate, with plenty of time for taking in the scenery. 

Here is the proposed route for this hike:  https://www.gaiagps.com/public/DBVVax4P0fKuwtKWDQsoxOoC/

From the trailhead, we fill follow the Little River Trail that parallels the river with the same name. The river itself is a beautiful cascading stream with large boulders and several small waterfalls and is now on the list of Outstanding National Resource Waters, and is home to the eastern hellbender, a giant salamander that can measure more than two feet in length.
This trail will pass by several old cottages, many of which are on the National Register of Historic Places 
During spring and early summer, the trail will be ablaze with wildflowers such as hepaticas, rue anemone, crested dwarf iris, yellow trillium, dwarf cinquefoil, stonecrop, Canadian violets and umbrella leaf.
At roughly 2.2 miles we will reach Huskey Branch Falls and shortly arrive at the Cucumber Gap Trail junction where the trail climbs roughly 400 feet in the next mile or so through a quiet forest where wildlife may be spotted, to loop back to the trailhead.

Following the hike, participants may want to visit the nearby town of Elkmont, with many interesting historical sites.

Participants are responsible for their own transportation and lodging, although carpooling options to the trailhead can be arranged.  Leader has secured a 3-bedroom-plus loft home (Apr 30-May 9) that can be shared with several participants (send me an email if you are interested).  The Knoxville airport would be the most convenient to fly into.  There will be options for dining together and sharing free time activities.

Route/Place

Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Roster
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

The Ten Essentials

  • Navigation
  • Headlamp
  • Sun protection
  • First aid
  • Knife
  • Fire
  • Shelter
  • Extra food
  • Extra water
  • Extra clothes
Trip Reports