Complex parking and an overflowing creek make this a poor contender for runners.
The Cooper Creek Trail is a short connector between the park boundary at Cooper Creek Road and the Deeplow Gap Trail
. Access to the trailhead is 185 yards off Cooper Road.
Once inside the park, the trail follows the roadbed upstream along Cooper Creek — from the trailhead, the stream marks the park’s boundary. The two diversions to the right of the trail enter private property and are not a part of the park.
Part way up the trail, an outlet stream of Cooper Creek flows down the roadbed, often leaving the course deep in water and difficult to run. The best option is to exit the trail to the left and follow a well-worn path that circumvents the flooded section of the trail.
The outlet stream remains in the trail for an interval of 115 yards. Immediately above this point the road forks, stay straight as the trail continues following along Cooper Creek. At this elevation the creek is more characteristic of a cut-bank stream than a mountain torrent, and thus trees encroach closely on the banks. A quarter-mile above the fork in the road runners will encounter an old homesite before crossing Little Creek via a footlog. Shortly after the crossing, the trail ends at the intersection with Deeplow Gap Trail
This content was contributed by author Ken Wise. For a comprehensive hiking guide to the Great Smoky Mountains and to see more by Ken, click here