Friday, January 27, 2012

A hike along the Middle Prong Trail

Middle Prong Trail begins at the end of the Tremont Road and follows the railroad bed that carried the last logs out of the Smokies in 1939.
This area was heavily logged but has recovered nicely. It is estimated the Little River Lumber removed more than one billion board feet of lumber from this area.
The trail is a wide roadbed with rock faces on the right and the Lynn Camp Prong to the left. We are hiking 2.3 miles to where Middle Prong intersects with the Panther Creek Trail.

This stream has many cascades and small waterfalls. The sound of falling water is with you most of the way.

Most of the trail is uphill, but nothing strenuous and the beauty of this hike is worth it! My photos don't do it justice.

As the trail rises higher over the river, bigger rock faces appear, broken into great chunks with deep cracks.

Some boulders are almost as large as a small house!!

Lynn Camp Prong Waterfall

Further up the trail various falls are shorter and terraced.

This trail in spring, is rich with wildflowers but we are too late in the season for that, but found one flower to photograph.

And a few butterflies.

I had read in my hiking book about an old abandoned car that sits about 50 yards off-trail. Not really expecting to find it we kept our eyes open for a narrow trail that would lead to it. Sure enough we found a little path and followed it up over a rise and there it was.

According to the information in my hiking book, this was an old Cadillac that belonged to a supervisor of a CCC camp. One day it quit running, and camp members pushed it off the road and left it.

Of course, my husband had to take it for a spin, but we really don't have much use for convertibles here in Ohio.

At 2.3 miles we reach the intersection for the Panther Creek Trail. At this point the railroad bed ends, and the trail becomes narrower and steeper.
 Middle Prong Trail continues on to the Greenbrier Ridge Trail which eventually ends on the Appalachian Trail. From there you can walk to Maine if you like.
Panther Creek crosses the Lynn Camp Prong and meets Jakes Creek Trail and continues to Elkmont.

 Even in summer these mountain streams are extremely cold and very slippery due to algae. We watched these two girls make the crossing before heading back to the trailhead.

I highly recommend this trail to anyone who looking for an easy to moderate hike, and loves waterfalls and cascades.


  1. Hi Pearl, We love the Tremont area --and also the Greenbriar area (on the Cosby side of Gatlinburg).

    Did you hike to Spruce Flats Falls???? Neat waterfall. We saw it in winter and it was partially frozen...

    We saw Lower Spruce Flats Falls, Lower Lynn Camp Falls and Lynn Camp Falls on that hike --but had to turn around before getting to Indian Flats Falls (getting dark).... Awesome area of the Smokies.

    Thanks for your gorgeous photos.. We want to go back sometime and see Indian Flats Falls... I read about that little community with the old Cadillac.... Neat!!!

    Have a great weekend.

  2. We hiked to Spruce Flat Falls previously. They are gorgeous. Will try to find my photos of that sometime. I also want to go back and find Indian Flats Falls. I wish I knew where they were for sure.

  3. What a beautiful area to hike along Pearl. Would I love that. The water and the green banks are so pretty. I keep seeing those rhododendrons along the creeks. It would be beautiful to be there when they are all in bloom.