Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Wildflowers
Family Friendly: Easy for the family, passing through many old homesites that the kids can explore. Easy to turn around at any point along the way. It's well shaded from the sun on hot summer days.
Dogs: No Dogs
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 to the parking area for the Cucumber Gap Loop
The turnoff for the Elkmont Campground will be 12.6 miles away from the Townsend Y on the Little River Road.
The Meigs Mountain Trail connects two areas of the park, the Elkmont community and Tremont. The trail passes old vacation homes, long deserted and in need of repair, as it climbs towards the Meigs Mountain trailhead roughly .7 miles from the parking lot. From here, the trail breaks to the right and descends along Jakes Creek, which can easily be rock hopped or crossed via a foot log downstream.
When the trail comes to a fork, Meigs Mountain Trail goes to the left. The trail begins to ascend through the woods where the settlers raised their crops before they had to sell their land to the government so that it could become part of the National Park. You'll pass stone walls, home foundations, daffodils, and an old spring house before you work your way through a cove and then down into a creek valley. At 1.9 miles, you'll encounter campsite 20, where several small creeks come together. It's a relatively flat, open hollow, thanks this being old farmland.
There are several more creek crossings, which can be made easily even if they are muddy. You may notice some rusted pieces of an engine after the second creek crossing, evidence of the logging done in the Smokies prior to it becoming a national park.
At 4.1 miles, you meet the Curry Mountain Trail
on the right, which descends 3.3 miles to the Little River Road at Metcalf Bottoms. Just .2 miles after this junction, a small spur trail leads to a small, maintained cemetery where most of the headstone are small and unmarked, but some belong to the Huskey family.
A littler further down the trail at 4.6 miles, you encounter campsite 19, where the Andy Brackin homestead stood in the 1930s. You continue along through forests of Eastern hemlocks, Fraser magnolias, grapevines, and other trees. You start a long descent through upper Buckhorn Gap and continuing until you reach a dry, sandy gap where the Meigs Creek Trail
joins the trail from the Sinks (3.5 miles away).
At this point, the trail becomes the Lumber Ridge Trail
and descends to Tremont.
Due to the homesites in the area, lots of wildflowers can be seen here as well as a large variety of trees, thanks to this area being logged, settled, and then abandoned when the area became a National Park.
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Woodpeckers, deer, and bear have all be spotted in the area.