Hiking Project Logo

Porters Creek Trail

Intermediate
 4.2 (18) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A wildflower, waterfall, creek, and historic settlement trail that ends at Campsite #31.


Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add to Favorites · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

7.3

Miles

11.8

KM

Out and Back

3,403' 1,037 m

High

1,897' 578 m

Low

1,506' 459 m

Up

1,506' 459 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

18%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Family Friendly A waterfall, creek, lots of wildflowers in the spring, and the remains of the old Greenbrier Cove settlement make this a great trip for kids to explore a variety of things that make the Smokies great.

Closed if the Greenbrier Road is gated. For park road conditions, information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.

Overview

The combination of wildflowers, a small waterfall, and the remains of an old settlement highlight many of the great things about the Smokies. While you probably won't be alone on the trail, you'll definitely have plenty to see.

Description

The trailhead is located 4.1 miles down the Greenbrier Road. Park on the traffic loop and look for the gate and trail sign.

This trail starts in Greenbrier and climbs 1500 feet over 3.6 miles to Campsite #31. Go past the gate on the old road and start climbing through Greenbrier Cove, an old settlement within in the park. At mile .4, you'll see the foundation and walls of several homes. At mile .7, you'll cross a sturdy bridge over Long Branch. Once you go over the bridge, a set of stairs on the right lead up to the Ownby Cemetery and an old car that was left behind when the park took over the land. A little further up the trail, you enter Porters Flat where Brushy Mountain Trail intersects our trail. As you go off to the left, the trail narrows and follows Porters Creek. At mile 1.5, you come to a log crossing.

Once you cross the log, you enter a different environment, full of trees and flowers that bloom in the spring. As you move upward following the trail, you'll encounter various varieties of wildflowers, one of the reasons that this is a popular route among wildflower enthusiasts in the spring. The trail climbs high above the creek, which is now on your right, until it levels out at mile 1.8. Off to the left, visitors will pass a 40' waterfall named Fern Falls. A small side trail leads up to the falls, where a large fallen tree makes a good place to sit, relax, and possibly have some lunch. From here, Porters Creek Trail continues to climb until mile 3.6, where you see the signpost for Campsite #31. There is a spring there for you to get water from, and the campsite is just ahead of you.

Once you have reached Campsite 31, you can take a break, have a snack, and then start your journey back to your car. There aren't many trails that intersect with this trail, so going back the way you came is your only real option.

Flora & Fauna

In April and May, wildflowers can be seen throughout the way to the end of this trail. There are over 30-40 different species. There are a great variety of ferns in the area as well.

Bears frequent the campsite, so be on the lookout.

Contacts

Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 18 votes

#2

in Greenbrier

#1024

Overall
  4.2 from 18 votes
5 Star
44%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
22%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#2

in Greenbrier

#1,024

Overall
58 Views Last Month
2,841 Since Sep 4, 2015
Intermediate

7%
0%
86%
0%
7%
0%

Photos

Looking up through the trees covered in snow and frost while on the Porters Creek Trail.
Feb 13, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Porters Creek is a welcome companion along the trail.
Apr 19, 2017 near Gatlinburg, TN
Porters Creek Trailhead is well signed, so you shouldn't have much trouble finding the trail.
Apr 19, 2017 near Gatlinburg, TN
Campsite #31, near the Porters Creek Trail, covered in the snow.
Feb 13, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Porters Creek Trail in January.
Feb 6, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Old cabin on the Porters Creek Trail.
Feb 18, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Jul 2, 2020
Christine Albrecht
Closed completely Road washed out
Jan 25, 2020
Karen Turner
11h 24m
Oct 3, 2019
Shawnee Reller
Catherine, Ariana and I hike to waterfall which was dry. I had a nasty fall coming down. Trail is steep and very rocky and rooted.
Sep 2, 2019
Thomas Mcadorey
up brushy mountain trail 0.9mi — 7h 00m
Sep 2, 2019
Ann Geraci
Hiked up to the Historic Farm Site. Used the scavenger hike adventures for fun tidbits. 2mi — 11h 30m
Sep 1, 2019
S R
Labor Day Weekend 2019 Mom, Dad, Ellis, Matt, Jordie 3.6mi
Aug 17, 2019
Aaron May
Aaron, Amanda, and Collin
May 20, 2019
Diane Ellis