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Turkeypen Ridge Trail

Easy/Intermediate
 3.3 (7)

A relatively level trail from Laurel Creek Road to Schoolhouse Gap Trail along Turkeypen Ridge.


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Map Key

3.7

Miles

5.9

KM

89%

Runnable

2,093' 638 m

High

1,722' 525 m

Low

582' 177 m

Up

598' 182 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

15%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Wildflowers

Closed when the Laurel Creek Road is closed from the Townsend Y to Cades Cove. For park road conditions, information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.

Runner Notes

Rocky, rooty, and narrow at points.

Description

The trailhead is located on the Laurel Creek Road on the way to Cades Cove, 5.6 miles from the Townsend "Y." Parking is on both sides of the road, with the trailhead being on the west side of the road.

You leave the trailhead and within .25 miles, you cross Crib Gap Trail and continue straight ahead. You'll pass the remains of an old homesite on your left as you cross a branch of Laurel Creek. You then begin climbing up to a gap, passing old fields of an area known as Big Spring Cove. Once you pass through a gap in the mountains, the trail levels out and starts following the ridge. Like most trails that follow ridges in the Smokies, the trail moves around the dry flanks and then enters the cooler, moist hollows closer to the mountain. This allows the hiker to enjoy various environs of the mountains.

You'll cross Pinkroot Branch at about 1.75 miles as you make your way toward Schoolhouse Gap Trail. Wildflowers can be seen throughout the trail, with flame azaleas, galax, trillium, and crested dwarf iris being present just off the trail. The last .75 miles of the trail descends to Dorsey Gap where the trail meets Schoolhouse Gap Trail. The forest changes from pine and oak to that of rhododendron, mountain laurel, and other hardwood.

Once you've reached the end of the trail, you can return to your car via the path you came, or continue left to Schoolhouse Gap or head right and follow the Schoolhouse Gap Trail back to Laurel Creek Road.

Flora & Fauna

Lots of wildflowers can be seen along this trail, especially in the cool, moist areas of the trail that lie in the hollows of the mountains. Flame azaleas, rhododendron, mountain laurel, galax, wood vetch, trillium, crusted dwarf iris, pinkroot, and others can be seen throughout the woods.

Deers, bears, and other animals can be seen along the trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 7 votes

#5

in Tremont

#20259

Overall
  3.3 from 7 votes
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4 Star
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3 Star
71%
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#5

in Tremont

#408

in North Carolina

#20,259

Overall
62 Views Last Month
1,977 Since Sep 4, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

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Photos

Obscured views of the Smokies Crest from the trail.
Feb 6, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
The trail moves through tall trees between Laurel Creek Road and Crib Gap Trail.
Feb 6, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
The daffodils are usually seen around old homesites. Here, the trail opens up where old farms and homesites once existed.
Feb 6, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
The trail crosses a branch of Laurel Creek via a log or rock hop.
Feb 6, 2016 near Wildwood, TN
Looking down from the trail into the bottomland. This may have been cleared farmland at one point.
Feb 6, 2016 near Wildwood, TN
Turkeypen Ridge meets Schoolhouse Gap Trail at Dorsey Gap.
Feb 6, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN

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Apr 28, 2018
Ken C
6.9mi — 1h 33m