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Elkmont Campground one of the most scenic spots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
The area has historic structures. It’s the perfect way to explore this logging camp and resort community.
Little River Trail
Highlights: Historic Structures, Wild Flowers, River Views
The 5 mile Little River Trail is an easy hike that climbs steadily into the mountains. It follows an old logging road, so the hiking is not too difficult and the grade is gentle.
The trail allows you to explore Millionaires Row, a collection of old homes that were once part of The Appalachian Club, a wealthy resort community that predated the formation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
After the park was established in 1934, many of the residents of these homes were allowed to stay with a lifetime lease. However, many of these structures are now in disrepair and slated for demolition. However, the park service has plans to preserve some of the homes.
This trail follows along a scenic stretch of the Little River. Several places are perfect for a swim. River otters were reintroduced to the Little River in the 1990s. You may see one.
At 2.2 miles, you’ll see the 20 foot Huskey Branch Falls.
The turn-around point is the Cucumber Gap Trail Junction at 2.5 miles in.
The entire Little River Trail is 6.1 miles long and leads to backcountry campsite #30. You can connect to Huskey Gap Trail, Goshen Prong, or Rough Creek Trail, but these trails are mostly used by fisherman and backcountry campers. These hikes are not enjoyed as much.
Jakes Creek Trail to the Avent Cabin
Most historic buildings in Elkmont are located close to the campground, but the Avent Cabin is located not to much further in the mountains. The round trip distance is 2.4 miles.
The hike begins on Jakes Creek Trail near the Society Hill area of Elkmont’s old resort community, where you will find more large, old homes in Elkmont.
After. 0.3 miles, is the junction with Cucumber Gap Trail and at 0.4 mile junction is Meigs Creek Trail, but continue along Jakes Creek trail. At 1.2 miles, is an unmarked trail on the right side of the hike. This trail crosses a small log bridge to Avent Cabin.
Avent Cabin dates from the 1850s. It is the 2nd oldest cabin in Elkmont. The original residents were the Owenby’s. They sold the cabin to Frank Avent. While the Avent’s owned the cabin, Mayna Treanor Avent, an artist, used it as a studio in the summer to paint watercolors of the Smoky Mountains in the 1930s and 1940s.
A nice way to sample some of the best hikes in Elkmont is to take the Cucumber Gap Trail Loop. It is 5.6 miles round trip and offers historic buildings, wild flowers and river views.
This loop trail combines the Little River Trail, Cucumber Gap Trail, and Jakes Creek Trail to make a nice loop.
Highlights are Millionaires Row, Huskey Branch Falls, and Society Hill. The Cucumber Branch section is peaceful and a good place to see wildflowers in the spring.
Hike the Little River Trail for 2.5 miles and take a right onto the Cucumber Gap Trail. Hike another 2.3 miles until Cucumber Cap makes a junction with Jakes Creek Trail. Take a right onto Jakes Creek for the remaining 0.3 miles back to Elkmont Campground.
This moderately difficult hike is an excellent way to spend your day and it’s perfect for exploring most of the Elkmont area. For a slightly longer hike, you can tack on a short trip to see the Avent cabin ask well.
Check out My Bearfoot Cabins where your minutes away from this gorgeous area of the Smokies!
Pat and Don Kirchhoefer, Owners