“A long ascent to the Appalachian Trail with plenty of creeks and streams along the way.
— Max Willner
Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Great Smoky Mountain National Park closes secondary roads on a seasonal schedule due to snow. Schedules can be found here
All campsites must be registered with the park. Backcountry rules and regulations can be found here
This is part of a popular loop hike, in which hikers leave the Jakes Creek Trailhead parking area, taking Little River Trail
to Goshen Prong Trail, heading west along the Appalachian Trail (AT), then turning north again on Miry Ridge Trail
to Jakes Creek Trail
and returning to the parking area. The loop on a map resembles a peanut. There are plenty of campsites and sources of water along the loop.
Branching off of Little River Trail
, Goshen Prong Trail slowly gains in elevation as it makes its way south to the Appalachian Trail (AT). Shortly into the trail, hikers will cross an iron bridge that goes over Little River. Along the way, there are ample opportunities to catch a beautiful view of the rolling forests of the Smokies. A good portion of this trail was once used as a railroad for logging companies.
There's a small spur trail that branches off towards Camp Rock (Campsite #23). From there, it's only 4.4 miles to the Appalachian Trail (AT).
Flora & Fauna
The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May. To learn more about the plants of the Smokies and even get a trees and shrubs checklist, visit the park's website
As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus). For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage