Road Prong Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,451' 442 m
Descent: -23' -7 m
High: 5,273' 1,607 m
Low: 3,845' 1,172 m
GradeAvg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 24% (14°)
Popular runs nearby
Charlies Bunion Out and Back
8.0 mi 12.8 km • Loop • 1,632 ft Ascent 497.37 m Ascent
2.6 mi 4.2 km • Loop • 515 ft Ascent 157.07 m Ascent
Silers Bald Loop
19.6 mi 31.5 km • Loop • 4,326 ft Ascent 1318.45 m Ascent
Ramsey Cascades Trail
8.0 mi 12.8 km • Loop • 2,209 ft Ascent 673.28 m Ascent
Deep Creek to Clingmans Dome
49.5 mi 79.6 km • Point to Point • 9,414 ft Ascent 2869.43 m Ascent
Deep Creek to Newton's Bald Loop
22.2 mi 35.7 km • Loop • 3,693 ft Ascent 1125.52 m Ascent
Navigate on-trail with our free app
“Use the old road to Clingman's Dome Road and the Appalachian Trail (AT).”— David Hitchcock
Clingmans Dome Road is closed in the winter, so access via that road is restricted during that time of year.
This is a good climb from the Chimney Tops Trail to Indian Gap on Clingmans Dome Road and the Appalachian Trail. Most of the trail is uphill and climbs along the old toll road that connected Sevierville, TN and Cherokee, NC. As you leave the trail junction, you'll notice wildflower blooming if you are on this trail in the spring. The trail is an old roadbed that is rocky and eroded now, although it doesn't get a lot of foot traffic. Hugging Mount Mingus, the trail moves upward through rhododendron trees until it comes to a footbridge that crosses Road Prong.
As you move up the trail, you pass Standing Rock and a couple waterfalls and cascades. Around 1.6 miles, the trail diverts from the original path due to a massive flash flood and the resulting landslide and log jam that have torn up the area (see photos).
The trail continues to ascend as it moves through spruce-fir forests before you encounter fir trees ravaged by the balsam woolly adelgid. Most of the mature fir trees in this area have been infested by these invasive insects and have died.
As the trail climbs, the Road Prong gets smaller and crosses the creek about a dozen times. At this point, it's probably just easier to make your way up the middle of the creek, if the water isn't too high. The trail leaves the creek and becomes shaded, so if you are visiting in the winter, you may encounter some snow in the shaded areas even if the rest of the trail is clear.
A little more climbing brings you to a grassy patch where you cross the Appalachian Trail and encounter Clingmans Dome Road. You can explore the AT in either direction. Going to the right will take you out to Clingmans Dome and going left will take you to Newfound Gap. If you want to get back to your car, turn around and follow the trail back to the Chimney Tops Trail and trailhead.
Run this trail?
We need help with the following missing trail information:
Need to Know, Flora & Fauna
Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.
Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park