Old Sugarlands Trail
ElevationAscent: 1,156' 352 m
Descent: -53' -16 m
High: 2,567' 782 m
Low: 1,464' 446 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)
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“A trail that offers opportunities to explore the remains of the Sugarlands Community.”— David Hitchcock
The trail splits immediately, and Old Sugarlands trail goes to the right and hugs the left bank of the river. Even though you are close to US 441, the river drowns the sounds of the cars. A large rock cliff on the left is the site of an old quarry the state of TN used to build a road over the mountains. The trail moves away from the river for a little bit as it narrows. The trail then takes a hard right and winds back down to the river.
As the trail continues, it follows what was once Tennessee State Highway 71, one of the first paved roads over the mountains that ran through the heart of the Sugarlands community. The name Sugarlands is believed to have come from the sugar maple trees that once grew in the area.
The trail winds through the remains of the Sugarlands community and an old CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) camp at mile 1.7. There are plenty of remains to explore as you follow the trail. Make sure you pay attention to the trail signs as there are plenty of side adventures to explore. The Sugarlands Cemetery and an old school can be found down one path while old foundations and rock walls can be seen along the main trail.
The trail begins ascending for 2 miles until it reaches the end of the trail. At 3.3 miles, you encounter the equestrian trail, Two Mile Lead Concession Horse Trail. At 3.5 miles, you encounter the Bull Head Trail that leads to Mount LeConte and at 3.9 miles, you encounter Cherokee Orchard Road. For your return trip, you can either return via the path you have already traveled or choose the shorter 2.9 mile Two Mile Branch Trail.
This trail isn't heavily traveled, so it can be a quiet journey in the woods. It's great for people who like to explore the history of the area before it became a National Park.
Deer, bear, and other mammals live in the area, so be on the lookout.
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Land Manager: NPS - Great Smoky Mountains National Park