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blue West Prong Trail


2.7 mile 4.4 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 975' 297 m
Descent: -385' -118 m
High: 1,984' 605 m
Low: 1,364' 416 m


Avg Grade: 10% (5°)
Max Grade: 18% (10°)


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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

A climb to Bote Mountain Trail, with a side trip to the Walk Valley Cemetery.

David Hitchcock

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Wildflowers

Closed when the Laurel Creek Road is closed from the Townsend Y to Cades Cove. For park road conditions, information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.


If you are headed to Cades Cove, at .2 miles from the Townsend "Y," turn left onto Tremont Road and follow the road for 2 miles. The trailhead is on the right, before the entrance to Tremont Institute. The trail is right behind the pump house at the top of the hill.

The trail starts climbing and comes to a fork, where you can follow the trail to the left or take a right to visit a maintained cemetery where many of the families in the area were buried. You'll notice a high number of children buried here, which speaks to the high infant mortality rate in the 1800s and early 1900s. Family names you'll see in the cemetery are Moore, Stinnett, Carlyle, Cook, and McCarter. These families lived in the Tremont area, making a life for themselves living off the land. Once you have looked around, you can go back the way you came to pick up the trail or take a rough path through the woods to rejoin the West Prong a little further up the trail. If you go back to the trail, you'll work your way up the trail and at roughly .25 miles, you'll see a hog trap off to the right, which is used to capture wild boar, an invasive, non-native species that destroys vegetation and native animals.

As the trail climbs Fodderstack Mountain, the West Prong can be heard below the trail and views through the open woods provide opportunities to take in the surrounding hills and creek valleys.

After climbing for about a mile, the trail begins a mile long descent to West Prong where wildflowers can be seen in wet areas beside the trail. An easy rock hop over a side creek leads you to Campsite 18 at mile 2.1. There are several campsites on both sides of the stream for people who want to camp overnight. Once you pass the campsite and cross a foot log, the trail goes to the right and starts climbing again. While not steep, it doesn't level off for the rest of the trail. At 2.7 miles, you reach the Bote Mountain Trail and the end of the West Prong Trail.

You have several options when you get to the junction. You can go back the way you came, or take the Bote Mountain Trail to the right where you end up on Laurel Creek Road. If you continue straight on the Bote Mountain Trail, you'll eventually wind up on the Appalachian Trail at Spence Field.

West Prong also acts as a connector between the Elkmont-Tremont trails and the Cades Cove trails.

Flora & Fauna

Wild Boar have been seen in this area as evidenced by the trap off to the side of the trail. Deer, bear, and other animals commonly seen in the smokies can be seen throughout the area.

Wildflowers can be seen in the spring in the wet areas along the side of the trail. Rhododendron bloom in early summer, and other trees like tuliptree, maples, and chestnuts are seen all along the way.


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Feb 13, 2019
Charlie Nichols
Feb 2, 2019
Brenda White
Jan 11, 2019
Charlie Nichols
May 12, 2018
Ed Galyon
May 12, 2018
Thomas Szymanski
Mar 15, 2018
Brian Cole
Nice hike on the west prong trail from tremor to Boat Mt. Trail with my daughter. 5.4mi
Jan 20, 2018
Brian Carpenter
From Bote Mtn to Laurel Creek Rd. This was the end of a 19.1 mile day and that last climb kicked my butt. 2.7mi
Jun 10, 2017
Jamie Ott

Trail Ratings

  2.7 from 3 votes


in Tremont


  2.7 from 3 votes
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in Tremont


in North Carolina


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