Top 4 Reasons Why Families Love Hiking Along the Kephart Prong Trail

May 05, 2022

One of the most family friendly hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains is the Kephart Prong Trail, a well-maintained trail that runs for about 2 miles to the Kephart Shelter. The trail crosses over a creek several times via sturdy log bridges and offers several fascinating historic sites along the journey! In addition to the shelter at the trail’s end, you’ll also find the remnants of the Civilian Conservation Corps camp! Here are the top 4 reasons why families love hiking along the Kephart Prong Trail:

1. Unique Historic Trail That is Fun for Kids and Adults

While it’s not always easy finding a hiking trail that children will enjoy, this trail is fun for both kids and adults! This is a chance for kids to experience some fascinating Smoky Mountain history, ranging from the logging era to the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps. While hiking along the trail, keen eyes may even spot some evidence of the old logging railway! Since the Civilian Conservation Corps camp was situated near the start of the trail from 1933 to 1942, keep a lookout for remains such as a stone drinking fountain, masonry notice board and a stone hearth with a cooking surface!

2. Moderately Challenging Trail Difficulty

sign leading to Kephart Prong Trail in the Smoky MountainsAnother reason why families love hiking the Kephart Prong Trail is because it is rated as moderately difficult, so you never have to worry about the kids getting bored! In fact, they’ll enjoy an exciting sense of adventure as they cross over four log bridges! Note that the first couple of bridges are easier to cross while the last two are a bit more challenging, so you may only want to cross those with older kids interested in seeing the Kephart Shelter. While the final leg of the trail steepens a bit, it follows a pretty gentle grade along most of the two mile route.

3. Chance to Discover Evidence of a Fish Hatchery

This exciting Smoky Mountain hike offers your family the chance to discover the evidence of a fish hatchery that was built in 1936! Once you have hiked about 0.7 miles into the trail, look a few yards to the left of the path where you’ll see two concrete tanks indicating the location of the old hatchery. This area was home to several buildings and many fish pools, as the fish hatched in these pools were used to stock the depleted streams within the park.

4. Excellent Wildlife Viewing Opportunities

salamander in the Smoky MountainsMany families love the Kephart Prong Trail for its excellent wildlife viewing opportunities and you never what you may encounter along your hike! One thing you can probably count on seeing is a salamander, which can often be found right along the stream. Be sure to bring a camera along to capture some of the wildlife in the Smokies, as well as stunning natural wonders ranging from wildflowers to beautiful forests!

As you can see, the Kephart Prong Trail is a fantastic choice for families who want to experience a scenic hiking trail in the Smokies that is fun and unusual! Click here to discover some of the other recommended family hikes in the Smoky Mountains!