3 Lesser-Known Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains

June 25, 2024

If you love the popular hiking trails in the Smokies, you’ll be glad to know that there is much more area to cover! This is because the national park has over 850 miles of trails. Get prepared for your next visit by finding a new favorite route! Here is a list of 3 lesser-known hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Middle Prong Trail

Indian Flats FallsThe Middle Prong Trail is in the Tremont section of the national park which is close to Cades Cove. This wide 8.2-mile trail is a steady climb and is considered strenuous in difficulty. Hikers will love admiring the stunning cascades along the way, one of which is Lynn Camp Falls. There are also cool historical remnants to look out for, including a 1920s Cadillac, a chimney from an old homestead, and a railroad beam. The trail’s grand finale is Indian Flats Falls. The water drops a total of 60 feet in 3 tiers. If you plan to do any exploring along the water, be mindful of the slippery rocks.

2. White Oak Sink

Another of the lesser-known hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains is White Oak Sink. It has a roundtrip distance of 4.6 miles and is considered moderate in difficulty. To get to it, hikers veer off the Schoolhouse Gap Trail to the Turkeypen Ridge Trail. When it comes to natural scenery, the highlight of the trail is Rainbow Cave Falls. It is a 40-foot waterfall that is unique because the water drops into a cave. Another cave on this trail is Blowhole Cave. Indiana bats, an endangered species, flock to the cave in the winter for hibernation. While hikers can’t go inside, they will feel a cool breeze coming from the entrance. It is also fun to explore the scenic area around the cave. 

3. Metcalf Bottoms Trail to Little Brier Gap Trails

walker sisters placeThe Metcalf Bottoms Trail leads into the Little Brier Gap Trails. Altogether, it is an easy 4-mile hike. While the trail has gorgeous natural scenery like the rest of the Smokies, it is also rich in history. Hikers will see the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse and the cemetery nearby. Along with providing education to the children in the settlement, the school served as a community meeting place as well. At the end of the route, look out for The Walker Sisters’ Cabin. The cabin was obtained by the sisters’ father after he returned home from the Civil War. The structure was built out of logs from tulip poplars insulated with mud and rock. The Walker family consisted of 13 children and 6 unmarried sisters who ended up living in the cabin together after their father’s death in 1921. Even though one of the sisters ended up passing away in 1931, the others maintained the home for another 40 years. The sisters received a lifetime lease on their home when the national park was built and lived in the area until 1964.

We hope you enjoyed learning about some lesser-known hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains! Want to discover more hidden gems? Explore this other list of best hiking trails in the Smokies you probably don’t know about