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greenBlue Jakes Creek Trail


3.7 mile 6.0 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 1,815' 553 m
Descent: 0' 0 m
High: 4,046' 1,233 m
Low: 2,231' 680 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)


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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

An ascent past dilapidated vacation homes as the trail climbs along Jakes Creek to Jakes Gap.

David Hitchcock

Features River/Creek · Wildflowers

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.


From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, drive 4.9 miles west along the Little River Road to the turnoff for the Elkmont Campground. Turn left into Elkmont, and go 1.4 miles to the campground, turning left and driving another 0.6 miles. At this point, you can take a right and go another 0.5 miles to a parking area.

The turnoff for the Elkmont Campground will be 12.6 miles away from the Townsend "Y" on the Little River Road.

The trail climbs for roughly 0.4 miles past these vacation homes as it follows an old railroad bed. At mile 0.3, the Cucumber Gap Trail breaks off to the left and then at mile 0.4, the Meigs Mountain Trail goes off to the right. It's a wide, gravel trail (it had to support the trains hauling lumber out of the valley) as it approaches Jakes Creek as it works its way uphill. The gravel ends around 1.2 miles, as the trail crosses a series of creeks via log footbridges, and this area of the trail can be dangerous after heavy rain. This is typical of creek valleys in the Smokies, so make sure you check the weather before heading out. The trail narrows at this point as it climbs a switchback into a forest dominated by Fraser magnolias. Rocks and tree roots are common obstacles on the trail from this point on.

Around mile 2.6, you have gained about 1,000 feet of elevation and arrived at Campsite #27, which is a popular campsite with several sites and fire rings. The trail continues to climb as the creek starts to disappear. Gently climbing for the last 0.7 miles, the trail reaches Jakes Gap at an elevation of 4,055 feet. The trail has climbed over 1,500 feet since leaving Elkmont.

At this point, there are several options. The Panther Creek Trail drops down to the Middle Prong Trail and the Tremont area while the Miry Ridge Trail goes off to the left and continues to climb to the Appalachian Trail. The other option, enjoy a downhill hike back to your car.

This area was logged by the Little River Lumber Company in the 1900s, so there aren't a great number of old growth trees in this area. After the lumber company was finished logging the area, the land was sold to settlers and vacationers, whose homes can still be seen, even though they are dilapidated now. If you've read about the ghost town in the Great Smoky Mountains, this is the area described in those tales.

Flora & Fauna

Fraser magnolias, tuliptrees, maples, and black locust trees are just some of the young trees you can see in this area. Due to selective logging in the 1800s and heavy logging in the 1900s before the area was a park, there aren't many old growth trees in this area of the park.

Wildflowers can be seen along various portions of the trail in the spring.

Deer, bear, wild turkeys, and other animals have been seen throughout the area.

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May 6, 2019
paul schilling
May 27, 2018
Zoe Newland
Jan 6, 2018
buddy beavers
clear cold day in single digits Jake's creek and little river was froze in most places
Dec 16, 2017
Emily Capps
To Jakes Gap and added Avent Cabin spur. 6.9mi
Nov 26, 2016
Brian Carpenter
started and ended hike here. split at cucumber gap to little river to goshen prong to at and then down miry ridge back to jakes creek to finish 3.7mi
Aug 27, 2016
Stewart Armstrong
Nice trail. Neat log bridge. Planning to do the full trail in the future 2mi — 2h 00m
Aug 20, 2016
Bobby Curington

Trail Ratings

  3.5 from 4 votes


in Elkmont


  3.5 from 4 votes
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in Elkmont


in North Carolina


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2,776 Since Sep 4, 2015
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