A Walk in the Woods

Last Thursday (9 June 2022) our hiking group took a walk in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, along the Little River and beyond. The temperature was late July hot and the humidity, elevated by an overnight rain, was visible.

Little River, which is actually pretty big river

For the first few miles, we hiked on the Little River Trail. Once a logging road for the Little River Lumber Company, the gravel trail is now a popular hiking destination for young and old. The trail is a gradual uphill with several options to turn onto connecting trails and explore other sections of the park.

The trail was wide and hiking easy, so we walked side by side, chatting about our summer plans. Our conversation was frequently muffled by the sound of river water as it rushed off the mountain, twisting and turning through a pre-determined course of river rocks.

Little River Trail
This side creek is usually much smaller but water coming off the mountains from the previous night’s rain produced a beautiful waterfall.
Pretty snail crawling along a downed log.

We turned off at the Cucumber Gap Trail junction and headed roughly back to the car. The terrain changed significantly at this point, a narrow path with exposed roots.

Cucumber Gap Trail junction.
Trail map, our hike marked in orange. We started in Elkmont at the Little River Road trailhead and returned via Cucumber Gap and Jakes Creek Trails to a different section of the Elkmont community (short walk to the cars).

The GSMNP is considered one of the most diverse temperate rainforests in the world. I am always awed by the lush summer vegetation. We were early for summer wildflowers but did find one Mountain Laurel still in bloom.

Cucumber Gap Trail surrounded by lush foliage
Cucumber Gap Trail

The last half of the hike went quickly. The temperature was uncomfortable, and we were getting hungry. The hike totaled just over 5.5-miles in just under 2.5-hours. We concluded with a picnic lunch by the river.

Lunch on the patio behind a cabin that was originally a summer home for a wealthy Knoxville family.
This one-time summer home has been rehabbed by the Park Service and is now rented out for events. The cabin is located in a section of Elkmont called Millionaire’s Row.
Our view from lunch.
This entry was posted in Friends, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Hiking, Outside, Summer, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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