Jakes Creek – Cucumber Gap – Little River Trail

  • Distance Hiked: 5.5 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 725 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Leaving Gatlinburg and traveling south on Smoky Mtn. Parkway take a right at the ranger’s station. Drive a few miles and turn left into Elkmont. Follow the signs to Jake’s Creek Trail.

We pieced together a loop that began on Jake’s Creek Trail intersecting Cucumber Gap Trail after only .7 mile. Turn left at the junction. This section of the trail is 2.4 mile with a steady increase in elevation and is moderately strenuous. Cucumber Gap trail dead ends into the Little River Trail that runs 2.4 miles back to the parking lot. This last trail section runs along the Little River on an old road bed that is mostly level and graveled and is used heavily by novice hikers. The river is gorgeous and there are several pretty white water and waterfall photo opportunities.

Some of our Jake’s Creek Hikes:

Jake’s Creek

We pieced together a loop that began on Jake’s Creek Trail intersecting Cucumber Gap Trail after only .7 mile. Turn left at the junction. This section of the trail is 2.4 mile with a steady increase in elevation and is moderately strenuous. Cucumber Gap trail dead ends into the Little River Trail that runs 2.4 … Continue reading Jake’s Creek

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John Rock Loop

  • Distance: 5.7 Miles RT
  • Elevation Gain: 1375 ‘
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Park at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and the State Fish Hatchery near Brevard. The John Rock trail can be accessed  from either direction from the parking lot.

If you are hiking counter clockwise, you will take the Cat Gap Bypass and follow that until the John Rock trail intersects at the gap.  Turn left and go up.

Counterclockwise isn’t quite as steep going up on the rock but you need to watch for the carsonite sign for your right turn up to John Rock.

SOME OF OUR JOHN ROCK HIKES:

John Rock

Park at the Pisgah Center for Wildlife Education and the State Fish Hatchery near Brevard. The John Rock trail can be accessed  from either direction from the parking lot. Counterclockwise isn’t quite as steep going up on the rock and the hike along the creek going in is beautiful and serene. The elevation gain is … Continue reading John Rock

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Jump Off via Newfound Gap

  • Trail Location: Newfound Gap
  • Distance: 6.5 Miles RT
  • Elevation Gain: 1275 Feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Highest Point: 6,225′ above sea level

Description taken from the High in the Smokys website.

The hike to the Jump Off begins from the Newfound Gap parking area. Hikers will travel eastbound along the Appalachian Trail to reach this rock outcropping. The steady climb over the course of the first two miles of this hike will quickly leave the crowds behind at Newfound Gap.

Just before reaching the Sweat Heifer Creek Trail junction, roughly 1.7 miles from the trailhead, be sure to take in the outstanding views of Mount LeConte and Myrtle Point towards the northwest.

Throughout several portions of the hike you’ll be traveling at elevations hovering around 6000 feet. Being at the highest point along this narrow ridge, with stunning views on either side of the trail, you’ll feel like you’re walking on the spine of the Appalachian Mountains.

At just over 2.7 miles from the trailhead you’ll arrive at the Boulevard Trail junction. Hikers should turn left here.

Less than a tenth-of-a-mile after turning onto the Boulevard Trail you’ll reach the junction for the Jump-Off. Although this side trail is not an official national park trail, it is marked with a sign. And though it has a few rugged sections, the route is easy to follow.

Some of our Jump Off Rock Hikes:

Charlies Bunion

August, 2015 We parked at Newfound Gap and walked the Appalachian Trail to the Jump Off Rock junction where we turned right. The trail out to the rock is short and runs thru the forest.  It is a favorite for day hikers in the Smokys.

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Big Creek Trail @ Little Pisgah Ridge

    Distance 5 miles RT

  • Elevation Gain: 1744′
  • Difficulty: Very Strenuous

Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway by the Little Pisgah Ridge Tunnel to access Big Creek Trail, beginning elevation 4720′. The trail descends 2 1/2 miles down to Big Creek, elevation 2976′. The trail is wooded drops down the spine of the ridge with a lot of mountain laurel at the top and hardwoods at the bottom. Wildflowers grow all along the trail.

Some of our Big Creek Trail Hikes:

Big Creek Trail

Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway by the Little Pisgah Ridge Tunnel to access Big Creek Trail, beginning elevation 4720′. The trail descends 2 1/2 miles down to Big Creek, elevation 2976′. The trail is wooded drops down the spine of the ridge with a lot of mountain laurel at the top and hardwoods at the … Continue reading Big Creek Trail

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Big Creek Trail at Little Pisgah Ridge

Park on the Blue Ridge Parkway by the Little Pisgah Ridge Tunnel to access Big Creek Trail, beginning elevation 4720′. The trail descends 2 1/2 miles down to Big Creek, elevation 2976′. The trail is wooded drops down the spine of the ridge with a lot of mountain laurel at the top and hardwoods at the … Continue reading Big Creek Trail at Little Pisgah Ridge

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Little Sam Knob – Flat Laurel Creek Loop

    Distance: 6.4 miles RT

  • Elevation Change: 794 feet
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Park where the Mountains to the Sea Trail intersects Hwy 215 north of the Blueridge Parkway and hike east on the Mountains to the Sea Trail. Hike a little over 2 miles and fork left on Little Sam Knob trail. Hike for approximately 1.5 miles to the intersection of the Flat Laurel Creek Trail and take a left. Hike back down to Hwy 215.

As the summers here in the south are hot and humid, we try to find trails that are as high in the air as possible. Most of this loop is over a mile in elevation making this a good “hot weather” hike.

Some of our Little Sam’s Knob Hikes:

MTS – Little Sam – Flat Laurel Creek Loop

Park where the Mountains to the Sea Trail intersects Hwy 215 north of the Blueridge Parkway and hike east on the Mountains to the Sea Trail. Hike a little over 2 miles and fork left on Little Sam Knob trail. Hike for approximately 1.5 miles to the intersection of the Flat Laurel Creek Trail and … Continue reading MTS – Little Sam – Flat Laurel Creek Loop

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Middle Prong Wilderness Loop

  • Distance: 9 miles RT
  • Elevation Gain: 1380′
  • Difficulty: Strenuous

We park at the Rough Butt Bald parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Howard Gap. On the north side of the parkway, travel east on the Mountains to the Sea Trail to the intersection of Buckeye Gap Trail. Turn left onto Buckeye Gap Trail.

The Buckeye Gap Trail has recently seen serious maintenance work from the trail angels. In years past, we have had trouble finding the trail and staying on the trail. However, barring any bad storms and trail damage, the junction at Haywood Gap Trail is easy to find.

At the Intersection of Haywood Gap Trail, turn left again to complete the loop back to the parkway.  This trail takes you down to Haywood Gap Stream and Buckeye Creek. A few years ago, we saw a mink at the creek bank near the junction of these 2 creeks. The sighting was quickly over, not allowing for any pictures.  I will never forget it as long as I live. They are shy and elusive little creatures.

When you get back to the parkway, you will need to walk the MTS trail back to Rough Butt Bald parking lot or just turn left on the parkway.  Personally, I like the MTS trail section better than the road.

Some of our Middle Prong Wilderness Hikes:

Middle Prong Wilderness

Middle Prong Wanderings

Tailhead: Rough Butt Bald Overlook Blue Ridge Parkway Milepost 425.4 Elevation: 5300′ Park at the Rough Butt Bald Overlook and walk across the Parkway to the Mountains to the Sea Trail. This section of the MTS runs parallel to the Parkway for several hundred yards before it forks right into the Middle Prong Wilderness proper. … Continue reading Middle Prong Wanderings

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Middle Prong Wilderness

We parked at the Rough Butt Bald parking lot on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Howard Gap. On the north side of the parkway, travel east on the Mountains to the Sea Trail to the intersection of Buckeye Gap Trail. Turn left onto Buckeye Gap Trail.

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