“An easy trail that provides access to the Bote Mountain Trail and Spence Field along the AT.
— David Hitchcock
Fall Colors · River/Creek · 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.
A narrow trail with roots that can provide problems for your ankles.
The trailhead is 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 left side of the road.
This trail provides the shortest run to Spence Field
via the Bote Mountain Trail
. While it covers 1.8 miles, the trail gains 1200 feet of elevation in a steady climb toward Bote Mountain Trail
. Following the Sugar Cove Prong, there are a couple easy rock hop creek crossings at the start of the trail. Running under hemlock, tuliptree, and other hardwoods, you'll pass the ruins of a homestead, as evidenced by the remains of a foundation and chimney.
Roughly 3/4 miles into the run, the trail moves away from the creek and begins climbing more steeply toward the Bote Mountain Trail
. The trail narrows as you wind around the ridges in this area. When you emerge on the wider Bote Mountain Trail
, you can turn right and head up the Bote Mountain Trail
to the Appalachian Trail, which provides easy access to the popular Spence Field
You can return to your car via the same trail you came up or turn left on Bote Mountain Trail
and run down to the Finley Cane Trail
, and return to your car via that trail.
Flora & Fauna
Deer, bears, squirrels. Great wildflowers and trees can be found surrounding parts of this trail.