Camping and Hiking
Crib Gap Trail

Crib Gap Trail

Discovering the Crib Gap Trail: A Wildlife Lover’s Haven

For wildlife enthusiasts seeking an easy hike in the Smoky Mountains, the Crib Gap Trail is a must-visit. This breezy 1.6-mile hike takes you from its junction with the Anthony Creek Trail to the intersection with the Turkeypen Ridge Trail and the Finley Cane Trail.

Starting Point: Cades Cove Picnic Area

The adventure begins in the Cades Cove picnic area in Townsend, TN. A quick 0.2-mile walk along the Anthony Creek Trail brings you to the Crib Gap Trail.

Picnic tables under the trees in Cades Cove

Trail Experience

Although you’ll hear the sounds of the road running parallel with the trail, the Trail offers a peaceful escape from the tourist hustle of Cades Cove, especially during bustling summer days. As you start the trail, you’ll be greeted by beautiful rhododendron. Wild mushrooms are also plentiful on this scenic hike.

Scenic Highlights

As you progress, you’ll encounter a small tributary of Anthony’s Creek. A quick jump across the creek keeps you on track. Climbing the trail, you’ll navigate a few switchbacks as you ascend the gap. Eventually, you’ll reach an opening in the trail where you can look down upon Crib Gap.

From the peak, you’ll notice an interesting natural phenomenon: rainwater falling behind you flows to Anthony Creek and Abrams Creek before joining the Little Tennessee River. Water falling in front of you drains down to Laurel Creek, the Little River, and eventually the Tennessee River.

Abrams Falls Trail
The Waterfall in the Autumn

Descent to Laurel Creek Road

On the descent, be careful when crossing Laurel Creek Road at mile 0.9. After crossing, continue hiking for about 30 yards. Watch out for mud, as horses frequently use this trail. The trail concludes in an open field at the intersection with three other Smoky Mountain trails.

Trail Overview

  • Length: 1.6 miles
  • Elevation Gain: Moderate
  • Route Type: Out & back
  • Trailhead: Cades Cove picnic area, Townsend, TN

Wildlife and Flora

The Crib Gap Trail is a haven for wildlife lovers. Keep an eye out for diverse flora such as rhododendrons and wild mushrooms. The trail offers excellent opportunities for birdwatching and enjoying the natural serenity of the Smoky Mountains.

Safety Tips

  • Wear appropriate footwear for creek crossings and potential mud.
  • Carry enough water and snacks.
  • Keep dogs on a leash.
  • Be cautious of road crossings.

Directions and Additional Information

To reach the trailhead, start at the Cades Cove picnic area in Townsend, TN. The trail is accessible year-round, offering a unique experience in every season.

Plan Your Hike

For those looking to explore more, the Crib Gap Trail connects with the Anthony Creek Trail, Turkeypen Ridge Trail, and Finley Cane Trail. Whether you’re seeking a short escape into nature or a longer hiking adventure, the Crib Gap Trail offers a perfect blend of tranquility and natural beauty.

Embark on the Crib Gap Trail and immerse yourself in the wildlife and serene landscapes of the Smoky Mountains. This easy hike is a perfect getaway for nature lovers visiting Cades Cove.