Features: Fall Colors — River/Creek — Wildflowers
Family Friendly: While this trail may prove too difficult for younger children, it still provides a viable option for families with older kids.
Dogs: No Dogs
The trailhead is on the Laurel Creek Road on the way to Cades Cove, 5.6 miles from the Townsend "Y." Parking is on both sides of the road, with the trailhead being on the left side of the road.
This trail provides the shortest hike to Spence Field
via the Bote Mountain Trail
. While it covers 1.8 miles, the trail gains 1200 feet of elevation in a steady climb toward Bote Mountain Trail
. Following the Sugar Cove Prong, there are a couple easy rock hop creek crossings at the start of the trail. Hiking under hemlock, tuliptree, and other hardwoods, you'll pass the ruins of a homestead, as evidenced by the remains of a foundation and chimney.
Roughly 3/4 miles into the hike, the trail moves away from the creek and begins climbing more steeply toward the Bote Mountain Trail
. The trail narrows as you wind around the ridges in this area. When you emerge on the wider Bote Mountain Trail
, you can turn right and head up the Bote Mountain Trail
to the Appalachian Trail, which provides easy access to the popular Spence Field
You can return to your car via the same trail you came up or turn left on Bote Mountain Trail
and hike down to the Finley Cane Trail
, and return to your car via that trail.
Deer, bears, squirrels. Great wildflowers and trees can be found surrounding parts of this trail.