Total Trail Miles Hiked: 4.0
19 December 2012
The Gatlinburg Trail is one of those trails that I thought to myself - "well... I'll just have to suck it up and do it so I can complete all of the trails in the park." It's a short trail that runs from the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Park Headquarters to the edge of Gatlinburg, paralleling the road. I had no expectations of anything pleasant about it, BUT I was pleasantly surprised. I was in Gatlinburg doing some Christmas shopping at William Britten's Gallery and decided to knock out this trail while I was in the neighborhood (and I can now actually post this blog since the gift-giving is done ;-).
The first part of the trail follows the road from the park headquarters to the park maintenance area... NOT an especially picturesque portion of the park.
BUT from here the trail meanders through the woods following the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River as it flows toward Gatlinburg. There are lots of twists and turns to the river and rocky sections that make it both look and sound very nice.
This area was obviously settled prior to the inception of the park. There are chimneys and stone stairs still evident along the trail.
So while this trail will never rank on my Top 10 list of Smokies trails, it was much nicer than I expected, and made for a pleasant afternoon stroll.