Here’s an easy Smoky Mountain hike for all you wildlife lovers out there, it’s called the Crib Gap Trail. It’s a breezy 1.6 mile hike from its junction with the Anthony Creek Trail to the intersection with the Turkeypen Ridge Trail and the Finley Cane Trail.
Starting out in the Cades Cove picnic area in Townsend, Tn, it’s a quick 0.2 mile walk along the Anthony Creek Trail to the Crib Gap Trail.
This short trail won’t keep you too far from civilization as the sounds of the road run parallel with the trail. What this trail is, is a peaceful getaway from the tourist trappings of Cades Cove during one of those bustling summer days. As you meet the trail, the rhododendron come out to greet you immediately. It’s also said that wild mushrooms are aplenty on this particular Smoky Mountain/Cades Cove hike.
You’ll eventually come to a small tributary of Anthony’s Creek which you must jump to carry on. Climbing, you’ll come to few switchbacks as you ascend the gap then approach an opening in the trail. When you come to the peak, you’re able to look down upon Crib Gap. Here, rain that falls downhill behind you flows to Anthony Creek and Abrams Creek before being spit out into the Little Tennessee River. Water that falls in front of you drains down to Laurel Creek, the Little River before reaching the Tennessee River. It’s quite a path.
You’re now on the descent to Laurel Creek Road. Be careful when crossing at mile 0.9. You’ll continue hiking about 30 yards after crossing. Watch out for mud, likely due to horses using the trail. The trail ends in an open field and its intersection with three other Smoky Mountain trails.