Middle Prong Trail

Click on image in check out the GPS tracking of this hike.
Click on image in check out the GPS tracking of this hike.

The 4th of July is typically one of those holidays where we don’t travel. However, this year, we took an impromptu trip to Townsend, TN for the extended weekend so that we could hike something new. After some cursory research, we decided to try out the Middle Prong Trail located near the Tremont Institute in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a good decision.

Middle Prong Trailhead Sign
Middle Prong Trailhead Sign

There are a couple of options while on this trail. We hiked to Indian Flats Falls and then continued a bit further along the main trail to where it intersects the Greenbrier Ridge Trail, and then headed back. In total, we hiked about 8.3 miles. My GPS however, recorded only 8.1. You see that weird flat, straight spot on my trail map? That’s where my GPS decided to pause itself. Luckily, I caught it before we got too far down the road.

Lynn Camp Prong
Lynn Camp Prong

This trail follows a rushing creek the entire way. It had been raining all week, and the water was up and moving. Happy whitewater ions helped enhance the overall awesomeness of this trail.

About 3.9-4.0 miles in, the trail divides into two. The path to the left is the main trail that leads you up to the Greenbrier Ridge Trail. The path to the right–the one that looks unkempt in comparison–is the one you really want to take. It leads to a beautiful series of waterfalls known as Indian Flats Falls.

Panorama of Indian Flats Falls
Indian Flats Falls

From there, we returned to the main trail and continued along to the Greenbrier Ridge Trail. Really, this extra bit of trail wasn’t too impressive and didn’t add anything extra to the experience. It’s also probably the steepest of what’s already a constant uphill climb. If it’s views you want, stick to the falls and then head back.

The marker at Greenbrier Ridge. What you can't see in this photo is that it was pouring rain at this point.
The marker at Greenbrier Ridge. What you can’t see in this photo is that it was pouring rain at this point.

This trail is a slight, constant uphill hike, though nothing that’s too strenuous. With it being an in and out hike, that means that the entire way back, you are walking slightly downhill the entire way.

Oh, and it rained. We got caught in several downpours, which didn’t hamper our mood at all. In fact, the rain was quite refreshing.

Overall, this was one of my all-time favorite hikes. We’ll definitely be back, and perhaps take some of the other offshoots.


Summary

Trail Length: 8.3 miles
Trail Rating: moderate
Parking: No parking fee
Facilities: Go before you get there. Luckily, there are several places where one can go in the woods as needed

Hiked on July 3, 2015


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