All About Little River Trail in the Smoky Mountains

January 24, 2022

The Smoky Mountains are full of opportunities for outdoor exploration, especially when it comes to hiking. If you’re looking for an easier hike or one that everyone can enjoy, Little River Trail might be the trail for you. Hiking this path comes with a mixture of water features, old structures, scenic views, and access to other trails! Keep reading to learn more about the Little River Trail: 


Reaching the trailhead for Little River Trail is simple if you start at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. From the visitor center, you’ll take Little River Road for 4.9 miles until you reach the turning point for the Elkmont Campground area. It will take roughly 1.4 miles to reach the entrance for the campground, but you’ll go left to travel 0.6 miles and arrive at the Little River Trail parking lot. 

Trail Description

Little River Trail beside Little RiverThe full length of Little River Trail is a little under 5 miles (unless you take the extended route) and comes with a slight elevation and an eventual downward slope. When you begin your adventure, you’ll encounter some old vacation cottages. You can view them from afar, but do not attempt to enter them as there are trespassing penalties concerning these buildings. The trail eventually passes right next to the Little River, and you’ll be able to cross over Huskey Branch Falls a little over 2 miles beyond the cottages. Once you encounter the Cucumber Gap Trail junction, you’ll have the option to turn around or keep going forward on the rest of the Little River Trail. Between 2.7 and 3.7 miles, Little River Trail will also connect with Huskey Gap Trail and Goshen Prong Trail. You’ll go right to continue on Little River Trail toward Goshen Prong Trail. If you want to take a great photo, follow Goshen Prong Trail for 0.1 miles and get your picture taken on the scenic bridge over Little River! To get back to the trailhead, you’ll turn back and make a left at the fork you reach.

More Information About the Trail

Whenever you’re ready to hike Little River Trail, make sure you can actually get to it. During times of inclement weather, the roads to the trail may be inaccessible. Little River Trail is one of the accessible hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. This trail is a wonderful one to spot wildlife like river otters, deer or wild turkeys. It is also a great one to hike when you want to see beautiful spring wildflowers or bright fall foliage. You’ll likely find the troll bridge off Little River if you keep your eye out for a trail of gravel to your right not long as you begin your hike. Another fun fact about Little River Trail? It used to be the logging pathway for the Little River Lumber Company during the early twentieth century! When you hike the trail, you’ll be able to see where past logging operations occurred. Finally, as noted earlier, the Elkmont Campground is on the way to the trail. If you plan to stay in the area for a while, you can stay at the campsite from April to October. That will give you a chance to check out the historic Elkmont Ghost Town

You’re bound to find many more trails like Little River Trail or other trails you have not tried before in the Smokies. If you enjoy learning about the history of the Smoky Mountains, consider hiking some of the best trails for history lovers!