Rich Mountain Loop Trail

rich mountain loop trailRich Mountain Loop Trail is a peaceful hike.  May blooms mountain laurel and you will enjoy excellent fall color from late September until early November.  You will also experience many views of Cades Cove and the surrounding Great Smoky Mountains.

The trail is flat in the beginning as it follows an old roadbed which tracks near the Oliver cabin. You will notice many fields cleared on this end of Cades Cove. The fields that were cleared by the pioneers would have been reclaimed by forest were it not for efforts of  the Great Smoky Mountain National Park service which keeps some fields in Cades Cove clear to show Smokies visitors how the cove looked during the 1800’s.

The Rich Mountain Loop Trail is a moderately difficult hike, following three of the many Indian trails in Cades Cove.  These trails make a loop.   You will want to wear comfortable shoes (no flip flops or sandals) and take bottled water and maybe a snack with you.  Remember to bring empty bottles and wrappers back with you.  Do not leave them on the trails because they will endanger bears.

The Rich Mountain Loop trailhead is a short distance down Cades Cove Loop Road from the parking and information area.  To follow the Rich Mountain Loop, begin at the trailhead of the Rich Mountain Loop Trail. After walking one half mile you will need too veer left at the junction with the Crooked Arm Ridge trail to stay on Rich Mountain Loop Trail. After a good bit of walking — two and a half miles, you will next go right when the Rich Mountain Loop trail intersects the Indian Grave Gap Trail. Hike about one mile on the Indian Grave Gap Trail and then go right on the Crooked Arm Ridge Trail. In about two miles the Crooked Arm Trail will intersect with the Rich Mountain Trail one half mile from the beginning of the hike.

The Rich Mountain Loop Trail is 8.5 miles long and accommodates both horses and hikers.

Other Hiking Trails

Perfect Winter Smokies Hike