If you are looking for a shorter, fairly easy hike to a beautiful area, this hike to the cascades and waterfalls on Lynn Camp Prong is a good one. It's family friendly and you might even find spots to cool off on the Middle Prong of the Little River on your way up to the parking area. This is also a good area for beautiful autumn color if you time it right - usually mid October.
Directions: From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, drive west on Little River Rd for 17.6 miles to the intersection of Laurel Creek Rd and TN 73, also known as the Townsend Wye. Bear left on Laurel Creek Road towards Tremont and Cades Cove. In .2 miles, turn left on the Tremont Rd towards the Great Smoky Mountain Institute. Two miles up Tremont Rd, the institute and parking for Spruce Flats Falls will be on the left. Keep going straight. The road turns to gravel here and you'll continue another 3 miles to where the road ends at the parking area for the Middle Prong Trail and the waterfalls. Look along the drive to the trail head for places to pull off and enjoy the sights and sounds of Middle Prong.
Begin the hike by crossing the iron footbridge and continuing up the Middle Prong Trail. The trail (old road) follows Lynn Camp Prong up stream. You'll pass a trail to the right which is the Thunderhead Prong Quiet Walkway. A sign ahead indicates the Middle Prong Trail and has the mileages to various destinations. At 0.3 miles you'll come to a bench with a view of Lynn Camp Prong cascades pictured below. You can carefully climb down the rocks from here for a better view (pictured above).
Continue up the trail to the left and you'll see a steep goat path to the left that goes out for a view of the top area of the cascades. Don't go out here if the rocks are wet. Keep heading up the trail and a half to 3/4 of a mile from the parking, you'll come to the series of stair stepping small waterfalls sometimes called the Falls of Lynn Camp Prong. The video and pictures below shows the entire area from here back down to the cascades. From here the trail continues on up to Indian Flats Falls which make the hike 8 miles round trip.
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