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Middle Prong Trail

 4.1 (21)

A trail that highlights the history and natural beauty of the park with wildflowers and cascades.

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Point to Point

3,171' 967 m


1,922' 586 m


1,249' 381 m


0' 0 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (7°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Family Friendly The trail is pretty wide and has benches for resting along the way. The creek, cascades, and old splash dams follow the trail, and remains of the logging community offer chances for exploring.

The 3 mile gravel road past Tremont is closed in the winter. The trail is also 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 continue 5.4 miles on the main road (it turns to gravel) to a gate and parking circle.

Your trail starts by crossing a high bridge over the Middle Prong River and into a flat area, the location of an old lumber camp. The trail is wide and the Lynn Camp Prong follows the trail on the left. The trail rises higher over the river and wildflowers can be found throughout the area. You'll notice chutes, falls, and pools in the river as you make your way up the trail. The trail begins to level out and at .7 miles, there is a bench where you can rest. There is a small waterfall in this area that is the remains of old splash dams, which were used by the loggers to help get logs down the mountain to the sawmill in Townsend.

The trail levels out as it follows the creek, and another bench beside the road is provided for you to rest and take in more wildflowers. At 2.0 miles, there is a narrow trail to the right that leads to an old car frame, which speaks to the area's use as a CCC camp during the Great Depression.

As you continue on the trail, you'll encounter the Panther Creek Trail, which goes off to the left as your trail narrows straight ahead. The Middle Prong CCC Camp was built in this area as crews constructed roads in the park between 1933 and 1937. After the camp, the trail continues the climb, and starts to switchback. At 3.5 miles, you cross a bridge that traverses Indian Flats Prong before the trail starts to turn away from the creek and climb a steepening series of switchbacks.

The trail ends where several trails intersect. Climbing from the junction, the Greenbrier Ridge Trail climbs 4.2 miles to the Appalachian Trail (AT). If you turn right when you get to the AT, the Derrick Knob shelter is located 4.5 miles from the trail junction. If you take the Lynn Camp Prong, you can follow that 3.7 miles to the Miry Ridge Trail and then take the Panther Creek Trail back to the Middle Prong Trail and back to your car. The final option is retrace your steps back to your car, enjoying a downhill stroll.

The Tremont area has a rich logging history, signs of which can be encountered through the trip. The trail is an old railroad bed that was used by the Little River Lumber Company to haul logs out of the forest. Remnants left behind by the loggers reveal the impact on the countryside, and how the forest is recovering from this damage.

Flora & Fauna

This trail is great for wildflowers in the spring. Foamflower's, toothwort, jack-in-the-pulpits, anemones, violets, rhododendron, dog-hobble, wild ginger, jewelweed, wild ginger, doll's eye, trillium, sweet cicely, goldenrod, and asters bloom are just some of the many wildflowers you'll encounter on this trail.

Great Blue Herons can be seen along the creeks as they hunt for food.


Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  4.1 from 21 votes


in Tremont


  4.1 from 21 votes
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2,417 Since Sep 4, 2015



Middle Prong of the Little River as it works it's way toward Tremont and the Townsend Y.
Jan 29, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Bridge crossing a small creek that feeds into the Lynn Camp Prong.
Jan 29, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
The Lynn Camp Prong working it's way over an old splash dam.
Jan 29, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
One set of cascades along the Lynn Camp Prong. This is an example of the splash dams that were used to backup water before they were blown up to wash logs downriver to Tremont.
Jan 29, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Water making it's way downriver.
Jan 29, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Middle Prong cascades. with permission from RAllen
Mar 11, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN



Current Trail Conditions

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Aug 4, 2020
Jodi Lynn
3.3mi — 2h 20m
Jul 3, 2020
Colleen Gebauer
More of a horse trail
Jul 3, 2020
Brooke Walczak
Went about 2 miles in and out. Didn't make it to the second big waterfall. Fun walk along the water.
Jun 27, 2020
Brian Carpenter
Nice trail with some great scenery. 8.4mi
Jun 5, 2020
Jeremy Mason
Up to Indian Flats Falls and back. Good hike, just a couple of smaller trees to step over. Beautiful falls. 8.2mi — 3h 46m
Dec 20, 2019
scott truman
Nov 24, 2019
Brian Faul
8.4mi — 5h 30m
Sep 24, 2019
Jennifer Wicker
Hiked almost to Panther Creek trail. Fly fished along the way. 4mi