Trail Run Project Logo

Kephart Prong Trail

 3.3 (3)

4.1 Miles 6.5 Kilometers


86%

Runnable

842' 257 m

Ascent

-841' -256 m

Descent

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

3,576' 1,090 m

High

2,734' 833 m

Low

Shared By David Hitchcock

Conditions


Minor Issues 29 days ago
Snowy, Some Mud, Icy - Snow and ice in the areas protected from the sun by the mountains. History

Getting forecast...

A quiet stroll along the Oconaluftee River that showcases the park's CCC and logging history.

David Hitchcock

Dogs No Dogs

Features River/Creek

Closed if Newfound Gap Road (US HWY 441 between Gatlinburg TN - Cherokee NC) is closed due to snow and ice. Newfound Gap Road information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.

Overview

This gentle route is one of the most enjoyable shorter runs in the park. Easily accessible, it is also one of the most family friendly. Along the way, you'll be able to enjoy the history of the park firsthand as you'll pass the remnants of a CCC camp that was constructed in the 1930's. Additionally, this would be a great route used to introduce youngsters to backpacking overnight trips, as the shelter located at the end of the trail makes for an easy stopping point.

Description

From the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, drive 7.3 miles north on Newfound Gap Road to reach the parking area for the Kephart Prong Trail, located on your right, just off the side of the road.

From the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, you'll drive 21.8 miles south on Newfound Gap Road to reach the trailhead.

Running from Newfound Gap Road to the Kephart Prong Shelter, you'll cross the Oconaluftee River several times as you follow the old Champion Fiber Company logging road to the shelter. After 0.2 of a mile, you'll see remains of a Civilian Conservation Corps Camp that was here from 1933-1942. The remains of the CCC include old walls, chimneys, and other artifacts from the camp that housed over 200 members of the CCC during the Great Depression.

After you pass the remains of the camp, the trail continues gently uphill, crossing the river 4 more times until you reach the shelter. The four river crossing are all log footbridges, which make for easy crossing except in snowy/icy conditions.

Once you reach the Kephart Prong Shelter at 2.1 miles, you have several options detailed on the signs at the shelter. You can take the Grassy Branch Trail that climbs to the Dry Sluice Gap Trail, and then onto the Appalachian Trail. Another possibility is to take the Sweat Heifer Creek Trail up to the Appalachian Trail, and then back to Newfound Gap where you can either try to hitch a ride back to your car or have another car parked there so you can get back to your car at the trailhead. Both of these options are more strenuous as they are entirely uphill.

Contacts

You & This Featured Run


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 3 votes

#2

in Oconaluftee

#3369

Overall
  3.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
0%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
67%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#2

in Oconaluftee

#115

in North Carolina

#3,369

Overall
28 Views Last Month
1,187 Since Sep 4, 2015
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

33%
67%
0%
0%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running