Little Cataloochee Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Elevation Gain2,789ft
Trailhead Elevation3,011ft
Elevation Min/Max2868/3808ft
Elevation Start/End3011/3011ft

Little Cataloochee Trail

Little Cataloochee Trail is a hiking and horse trail in Haywood County, North Carolina. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 5.3 miles long and begins at 3,011 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 10.6 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,789 feet. The Little Cataloochee Church Cemetery grave yard, the Davidson Gap saddle, and the Little Cataloochee Church (elevation 3,235 feet) place of worship can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Long Bunk Trail and Pretty Hollow Gap Trail.

Little Cataloochee Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The secluded hike to Little Cataloochee Church is a trip back in time. Pass a preserved pioneer cabin on your rolling trek into the Little Cataloochee valley. View more homesites and farmsteads to finally end up at pastoral Little Cataloochee Church, built in 1890 and maintained to this day.

This low-elevation hike is best enjoyed from late fall through early spring, when the leaves are off and you can more clearly see the outlines of old homesites and other evidence of pre-park settlers. Spring offers wildflowers aplenty. Summer could be muggy."

"The secluded hike to Little Cataloochee Church is a trip back in time. Start at a remote trailhead, tracing an old road. Pass a preserved historic cabin on your undulating trek into the Little Cataloochee valley, where the pioneer community of Ola once stood. Explore Ola to see homesites and evidence of the past. Finally, climb a hill to bucolic Little Cataloochee Church, built in the 1800s and still maintained.

Many parts of what later became Great Smoky Mountains National Park were settled and owned by ancestors of first pioneers who cleared off fertile valleys in this back of beyond, then established communities and cultivated a way of life that has long since faded away. However, the very establishment of the national park that threw these people off their land preserved relics of this North Carolina pioneer past. And in very few places it is better preserved than in the Smokies. This network of valleys draining mile-high mountains was first settled in the 1830s."

"Few hikes in the Smokies offer a cultural experience as rewarding as this one. In Little Cataloochee you’ll find restored cabins, cemeteries, rock walls and foundations, old
metal and ceramic artifacts scattered about, and the highlight of the hike for many, Little Cataloochee Church perched on a knoll.

It’s impossible to walk through the cove without wondering about life before the park was established. Unlike neighboring “Big” Cataloochee Valley, and Cades Cove over on the Tennessee side of the park, the only way to see Little Cataloochee is on foot or horseback, which makes the experience even richer."

"The hike to Little Cataloochee Baptist Church traverses a historic mountain valley setting left over from the last century. Starting on Pretty Hollow Gap Trail, you’ll hike past old fields and evidence of settlement before turning on Little Cataloochee Trail. Then you’ll climb to Davidson Gap and into the Little Cataloochee Valley, with its many old homesites, to finally end up at the church, a fine structure built in 1890 and maintained to this day.

On this hike, four stars indicate that scenery will be picturesque, it will be a relatively easy climb (five stars for difficulty would be strenuous), the trail conditions are average (one star and the trail is likely to be muddy, narrow, or have some obstacle), you can expect to run into few if any people (with one star you’ll likely be elbowing your way up the trail) and the hike is appropriate for able-bodied children (a one-star rating would denote that only the most
gung-ho and physically fit children should go)."

Little Cataloochee Trail Reviews

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Beautiful trail allowing you to get away from the crowds at Clingman's Dome. It's an easy out-and-back day hike through thick conifer forests, over exposed rocks and boulders, and finally out into the Bald, which offers some spectacular views. Only saw a handful of people, despite a packed packing lot at Clingman's.

Little Cataloochee Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Skill Level
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 107 Park Headquarters Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738, (865) 436-1200,
Local Contacts
Great Smoky Mountains National Park; USGS Cove Creek Gap
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Aug 2018