The Wet Bottom Trail ranks among the most interesting of the short trails in the Smokies.
When leaving the Cooper Road Trail
, the Wet Bottom Trail drops onto a thinly forested, gently pitched gradient alongside a small nameless stream. On the far side of the stream is a large, cleared farm field.
From the start, the Wet Bottom Trail reaches a wide, light-gravel track that serves as an access path between Cades Cove Loop Road and the Elijah Oliver Place. At this juncture, the Wet Bottom Trail turns right onto the light-gravel track, crosses the stream on a short footlog, then proceeds in the direction of the Elijah Oliver Place. About 75 yards beyond the stream, the trail passes in front of a large barn built by John Oliver sometime around 1900.
Down the gravel track, the Wet Bottom Trail exits to the left and follows a faint singletrack into the woods.
When the Wet Bottom Trail exits the gravel track, it winds through an old field once tilled and planted with tobacco and corn by Elijah Oliver. Across the field, the trail encounters a wire fence set up in 1984 as part of the Abrams Creek Floodplain Enclosure and is intended to keep wild hogs out of the floodplain to protect a variety of rare flora and fauna.
After following the fence for 220 yards, the trail continues across the floodplain toward Abrams Creek. Near the banks of the stream, evidence of beaver activity is visible on trees gnawed just above ground level.
Along Abrams Creek, the trail crosses a low swale through which the course can be difficult to discern. The course remains parallel to Abrams Creek until the stream makes a discernible bend across the path. Here, the trail crosses Abrams Creek and then proceeds downstream through delightful woodlands to terminate on the access path from the parking area to the Abrams Falls Trail
. Abrams Creek here is wide, deep, and anything but easy to cross. To avoid a wet crossing, an alternate route is available along a faint trail that leads downstream to the access path connecting Abrams Falls Trail
to Elijah Oliver Place. Turning left on the Oliver access, the stream can be crossed on the bridge at the head of the Abrams Falls Trail
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