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An old wagon road through gorgeous Smoky Mountain woodlands.

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Point to Point

2,219' 676 m


1,112' 339 m


2,040' 622 m


1,331' 406 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (9°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views


The Cooper Road Trail begins at the upper end of Abrams Creek Campground and follows a smooth, gravel track through an attractive corridor of tall white pines. Soon, the trail clears a low rise over a sweeping bend in Abrams Creek. Above the campground, a feeder stream seeking Kingfisher Creek may entail a wet crossing, but even when rock-hopping is not feasible, the crossing is never difficult.

Slightly less than a mile above Abrams Creek Campground, the Cooper Road Trail intersects the Little Bottoms Trail on the right before entering the Cooper Road Backcountry Campsite (#1).

When it leaves the campsite, the trail retains its character as a rough wagon road, wide and rutted, passing through occasional muddy puddles. Beyond the campsite, it reaches Gold Mine Gap, where it intersects the eastern terminus of the Gold Mine Trail.

Beyond Gold Mine Gap, the Cooper Road Trail descends to Cane Gap before turning sharply right and climbing steadily to the crest of Hatcher Mountain. The road course here is dry and sandy, heavily eroded, and often encumbered with roots and rocks.

When the Cooper Road Trail reaches the crest of Hatcher Mountain, it enters a crossroads that marks the intersection of Cooper Road with the Hatcher Mountain Trail and the Beard Cane Trail before descending steadily on a rough, rocky course to a stream crossing. The steepness moderates, and the roughness subsides as the trail proceeds to the coolness of a shaded hollow where it immediately crosses a tributary of Wilson Branch. Farther along, the trail completes a messy crossing of Wilson Branch and then turns and proceeds up the hollow following the course of a small feeder stream.

At the head of the draw, the trail crosses the feeder and enters into a steep climb to the crest of Stony Ridge. Upon clearing Stony Ridge, the trail descends to an easy crossing of Stony Branch and then turns and starts into a climb to the crest of Arbutus Ridge. As it eases onto the ridge, the trail turns sharply back to the left to follow the ridgeline briefly before dropping off for a steep descent into the Arbutus Branch drainage. Here, the course winds considerably on a track that is wide, smooth, and shaded by pines before ending at a tributary of Arbutus Branch.

Crossing Arbutus Branch on a concrete causeway, the trail proceeds downstream for a short distance, approaching Cades Cove before intersecting the upper terminus of the Wet Bottom Trail just before the trail’s end.

This content was contributed by author Ken Wise. For a comprehensive hiking guide to the Great Smoky Mountains and to see more by Ken, click here.

Flora & Fauna

Eastern hemlock, red maple, Fraser magnolia, pine, and American holly are abundant along the trail.


Shared By:

Ken Wise

Trail Ratings

  2.8 from 6 votes


in Abrams Creek


  2.8 from 6 votes
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Trail Rankings


in Abrams Creek


in North Carolina


8 Views Last Month
3,480 Since Jul 28, 2016



Approaching Backcountry Campsite #1
Apr 22, 2019 near Maryville, TN
Late afternoon sun sets in as the Cooper Road Trail passes Hatcher Mountain Trail (left) and Beard Cane Trail (right)
Apr 22, 2019 near Wildwood, TN
As the trail leaves the campground, the trail is gravel and wide.
Apr 18, 2018 near Maryville, TN
The Cooper Road Trail as it climbs up a gentle rise.
Apr 18, 2018 near Maryville, TN
After rain storms, water can flow in the middle of the trail, which is common in the creek and river valleys of the Smokies.
Apr 18, 2018 near Maryville, TN
Some old trees can be seen along the trail.
Apr 18, 2018 near Maryville, TN



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 7 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Aug 30, 2023
David Hitchcock
Hiked from Abrams to Beard Cane/Hatcher Mountain Junction. Quiet day in the woods, no people until last mile. 10.5mi
Jun 15, 2021
Zachary Troyer
Mar 30, 2019
Scott Basford
Hiked as a loop w/ Rabbit Creek and Wet Bottom Trails; dry, piney, low elevation walk with consistent decent views through trees. Not a huge fan 21.6mi — 9h 10m
Mar 17, 2019
Brian Carpenter
from little bottoms to Cades cove 9.4mi
Jan 8, 2019
Robert McDaniel
Mar 28, 2018
Wiley Ashworth
8.3mi — 5h 00m
Apr 20, 2017
Vince Bobinski
out and back to Little Bottoms Trail 1.8mi
Apr 2, 2016
buddy beavers
finished trail from cades cove to beard cane 5.5mi — 10h 00m