Hiking Metcalf Bottoms Trail in the Smoky Mountains

October 20, 2022

If you’re looking for an easy trail that’s close to a picnic area, Metcalf Bottoms Trail is a great option! Located right beside the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area, this trail has everything you could want in a short, simple hike!

Round Trip Length 1.5 Miles
Elevation Gain 100 Feet
Trail Highlights Riverside hiking, historic buildings


metcalf bottoms trailheadTo get to the Metcalf Bottoms area from Gatlinburg, head into the national park until you come to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Turn onto Fighting Creek Gap Road, and then drive 9.7 miles to Wear Cove Gap Road.

For those folks who are traveling from Townsend, turn left at the Y intersection onto Little River Road. You’ll drive 7.7 miles to Wear Cove Gap Road.

If you are already parked in the picnic area, you will find the trailhead to Metcalf Bottoms Trail on the other side of the wooden bridge to the right.

Trail Description

This trail is considered easy, and it takes about 40 minutes on average to complete. The trail is an out-and-back design, and it follows along the river.

The path is clear and simple to follow since it is made of packed dirt. There are tree roots and rocks along the way, so be careful as you hike.

People love hiking this trail because of the trees that overhang along the path. It is beautiful any time of year, but especially in the fall when the leaves change colors.

Little Greenbrier SchoolAs you make your way along Metcalf Bottoms Trail, you will cross the creek three times. There are footbridges at each crossing, and they are in great condition. Plus it’s fun to cross on these bridges!

At the end of the trail, you’ll come up on the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse. This building has been maintained by the park, and you can actually walk inside to see what life would be like as a student.

The schoolhouse was built in 1882 by several members of the community at the time. It was also used as a church, which is why there is a cemetery right beside the schoolhouse. Classes ended here when the National Park Service took possession of the land in 1936.

Picnic Area Next to the Trail

river in the great smoky mountains national park

As we mentioned before, the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area is right beside the trailhead on the other side of the bridge. It is a popular place to go to spend time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

We recommend packing lunch and bringing it with you to the picnic area. You will want to get there in plenty of time to grab a parking spot and a picnic table since it gets pretty popular the closer it gets to lunch time.

You can always go on a hike of Metcalf Bottoms Trail before or after you eat lunch. Other fun things to do in the area include exploring the river, playing in the water, checking out other nature trails, and just looking for wildlife!

Now you know more about hiking Metcalf Bottoms Trail. We’re sure you’ll have fun exploring the park and having a picnic lunch with people you love! Looking for other easy trails to do while you’re here? Check out these easy trails in the Smoky Mountains!