Hiking the Little Brier Gap Trail in the Smoky Mountains

November 12, 2018

The Little Brier Gap Trail is also known as the Walker Sisters Place. This easy trail will lead hikers down a trail that takes them back to a different way of life. The Walker Sisters were self-reliant and independent and some would say, stubborn. Learn all about the trail to this historic place below: 

Round Trip Length 2.6 Miles
Elevation Gain 219 Feet
Trail Highlights History, Walker Sisters Place

Little Greenbrier SchoolhouseTrailhead:

From the Townsend “Y” intersection near Cades Cove drive for 7.4 miles to get Metcalf Bottoms. Turn into the picnic area. From Little River Road turn right onto Little Greenbrier Road. The parking area for Little Brier Gap Trail is less than half a mile up the road and next to the historic Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse.

Trail Description:

The Little Brier Gap Trail is 2.6 miles round trip.The trail itself is well-worn and wide. Hikers of any skill level can hike this trail! The beginning of the trail follows a gentle stream. Around six-tenths of a mile from the schoolhouse hikers will cross a footbridge. At 1.1 miles you will reach the side trail that leads to the Walker Sisters Place. From here you will only be two-tenths of a mile from the homestead.  

History of the Walker Sisters: Trail covered in leaves

A man named Arthur McFalls was one of the original settlers of the Little Greenbrier area and even built a cabin here. It’s said that the cabin he built was later made a part of the large cabin that John Walker, the Walker sisters’ father, constructed.

John Walker’s family grew over time. He had 11 children. He even built several other buildings on his property including a barn, a blacksmith shop, an applehouse, a springhouse, a smokehouse, and a tub mill. When John died he deeded his land to one of his sons and his 5 daughters. His son gave his share to his sisters.

The sisters remained traditional in their way of life. The raised their own food and provided what they needed for themselves. However, in the 1930s the Great Smoky Mountains Park Commission tried to persuade the sisters to sell their farm to them. By 1941, after a a threatening condemnation suit the Walker Sisters accepted $4,750 for their land. And in 1953 only two sisters were living. By 1964, Louisa, the last Walker sister died. Now the Walker Sisters Cabin and two other structures on the homestead property are part of the National Register of Historic Places.  

Walker Sisters Place in the Smoky MountainsTrail Notes:

– Access to this trail via Little Greenbrier Road may be closed during December to March. You may instead start the hike from Metcalf Bottoms Trail. This will add 0.7 miles to the Little Brier Gap Trail.

Making the trek up the Little Brier Gap Trail is like taking steps back into history and getting to see what life was like in the Smokies almost a century ago! If you love exploring Appalachian history make sure you make the hike up the Porters Creek Trail! There are plenty of historical structures to learn about and explore there as well!