“A short, interpretive nature trail highlighting the human and ecological history of Elkmont.”
— David Hitchcock
Closed when the Little River Road is closed from the Townsend Y to Sugarlands Visitor Center. For park road conditions, information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.
Features: River/Creek — Wildflowers
Family Friendly: This trail highlights the human, ecological, and logging history of the area, so it provides the opportunity for an easy outing.
Dogs: No Dogs
The trailhead is located in Elkmont, about 2.0 miles from the Little River Road on the left.
The trail crosses Mids Branch via a footbridge and then follows an old railed that was used for logging before the area became a national park. This was a spur trail that followed Mids Branch and was used to get logs out of the area. The trail goes off to the right via a small footpath and drops to cross water from a small spring. While there are no signs of the homesite today, daffodils indicate that a homesite was once here. It's common in the Smokies to see daffodils where homesites once stood because residents wanted exotic flowers to surround their homes despite all of the natural wildflowers that surrounded them.
The trail follows along Mids Branch to a footbridge crossing at .3 mile. The trail curves left to a drier slope where pine and laurel dominate. The trail changes into switchbacks as it makes its way back to the trailhead parking area at .7 mile.
Along the way, there are 13 interpretive markers which correspond to an educational brochure that can be picked up at the trailhead or the visitors center. Enjoy exploring the area and learning about the various forces that have shaped the Elkmont area.
Flora & Fauna
Daffodils, laurel, rhododendron, and other wildflowers can be seen in the spring.