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Cucumber Gap Loop

Intermediate
 4.0 (24) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Get two for the price of one: a gentle stream hike and a quiet woods hike.


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Map Key

5.5

Miles

8.8

KM

Point to Point

2,954' 900 m

High

2,180' 664 m

Low

774' 236 m

Up

735' 224 m

Down

5%

Avg Grade (3°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Family Friendly The flat trail along the river is great for families and those who wish to hike but are not able to hike with elevation change.

Overview

This loop contains history, a nice hike along a creek, a small waterfall, and then a hike in the woods with some elevation change. The first trail, Little River Trail, is perfect for families and those wishing to hike on an easy trail that is generally level. Little River Trail continues onward, where you can choose to keep strolling along the river, but for the loop described here, take a right onto Cucumber Gap Trail. Cucumber Gap Trail has more elevation gain, though it's moderate. It is a well-worn singletrack trail. This loop is conveniently located off the Elkmont Campground - campers don't have to drive to this hike!

Description

The trailhead is located near the Elkmont Campgound, though be sure to turn left onto Little River Road before the entrance of Elkmont Campground. The trailhead starts beyond the gate near the parking lot. You'll start on the Little River Trail. During your hike on this gravel road, which use to be a railroad used for logging, you'll hike along the river, sometimes very closely - keep an eye out for wildflowers in the spring, or reminiscence about the railroad from the past. After about 2.2 miles, you'll pass Husky Branch Falls. This small falls is located right off the trail and flows under the footbridge into Littler River. At about 2.4 miles you'll reached the Cucumber Gap Trail junction. You should veer right onto Cucumber Gap Trail at this point, though you can continue down the Little River Trail as it continues for 4 or 5 more miles.

As you turn right onto Cucumber Gap Trail, you'll notice that you are now on a well-worn singletrack trail. You'll need to be careful of roots and rocks on the trail, and the sound of the river will soon disappear. You are now taking a quiet hike in the woods. There's more up and down terrain here, but it's a nice contrast to the Little River Trail. Wildflowers border the trail during the spring and early summer. After 2.4 miles on the Cucumber Gap Trail, you'll reach Jakes Creek Trail. Take a right here.

Jakes Creek Trail is an old gravel road. Take this road for .3 miles, then you'll reach the Jakes Creek Trailhead. From here, continue .5 miles on the road back to the parking lot.

During your hike, you may see dilapidated cabins. Though they are closed off, they are an interesting feature to photograph. These used to be vacation cabins, built before the park was established. Although owners were given the option to lease their property for many years after the park was established, the NPS would not renew leases in 1994. There are plans to restore some structures, but the park will eventually be removing most of them.

Contacts

Shared By:

Michelle Kras

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 24 votes

#3

in Elkmont

#970

Overall
  4.0 from 24 votes
5 Star
21%
4 Star
58%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Elkmont

#970

Overall
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3,853 Since Jan 14, 2016
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Photos

An old abandoned cottage at the beginning of the Little River Trail in Elkmont. You can find a community of vacation homes from the 1920s in Elkmont before the the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in 1934.
Apr 7, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Path is well-worn and has a bit of root/rock exposure. Wildflowers border the trail during springtime.
Jan 14, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Old cottages.
Jan 14, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Jakes Creek Trail - gravel road.  Flowering trees during the springtime.
Jan 14, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Bridge crossing
Apr 27, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
An easy path adjacent to the river.
Jan 14, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN

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Current Trail Conditions

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Minor Issues 11 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Oct 18, 2020
TL Hume
1:30 PM later start on a perfect fall day. Covid crowded parking lots. new structures appear to be built in area.
Oct 6, 2020
Dan Klimchak
Sep 12, 2020
Ryan Morris
Lauren, Ainsley, and Killian. Killian said the second leg of the hike was a sonofabitch!
Jul 10, 2020
C&S King
Includes time for exploring old cabins 5.9mi — 2h 17m
Jun 30, 2020
Brooke Walczak
Out and back in the little river trail
Mar 21, 2020
Candice Robins
Cucumber Gap Loop (Little River Trail - Cucumber Gap Trail) J&C — 3h 30m
Feb 2, 2020
Anthony Lopez
7.2mi — 3h 03m
Sep 12, 2019
Chris Poplin