Trail: Cucumber Gap Trail
Surface: Gravel Road and Forest Trail
Distance: 5.5 miles
Time: 2.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Foot Traffic: Crowded
Restrooms: Elkmont Campground (backcountry regulations)
Highlights: Wildflowers, Streams, Historical, Waterfall, Fall Foliage
Cucumber Gap Trail Trailhead
From Sugarlands Visitor Center: Drive toward Elkmont on Fighting Creek Gap Road. Turn left onto Elkmont Road and follow the signs to Little River Trail trailhead at Elkmont. Please park in the designated parking spaces. You can reach Cucumber Gap Trail by starting on Little River Trail or Jake’s Creek Trail. Both trailheads are located at Elkmont. Equestrians must use Jake’s Creek Trail.
Cucumber Gap Trail Description
Cucumber Gap Trail is the connecting trail for Little River Trail and Jake’s Creek Trail. These three trails make up the loop, and you can begin on either of the later trails. Equestrians are limited to the first 0.3 mile of Jake’s Creek Trail.
According to the National Park Service, the difficulty level of Cucumber Gap Trail is “easy”. However, most reputable hiking guides rate the trail “moderate”. The rating difference is because part of the trail is easy and part is moderate.
The trail surface for the loop consists of forest trail and a gravel trail converted from railroad beds. The Little River Railroad and Lumber Company ended their logging activities in the park in 1938. They removed the rails and converted the rail beds to trails. Little River Trail is a good example. The Little River Trail derives its name from the river that parallels the trail.
If you begin your hike on Little River Trail, you will arrive at the Huskey Branch Falls after walking 2.1 miles. The waterfall is 20’ tall and is a great place for photos. Walk another 0.3 mile and turn right onto Cucumber Gap Trail.
Cucumber Gap Trail is 2.3 miles long and will take approximately one hour to walk to Jake’s Creek Trail. These trails are well-worn dirt with roots.
The wildflowers in early spring and the fall colors are amazing along the Cucumber Gap Trail. Throughout the summer, a variety of foliage covers the mountains creating a wonderful hiking environment.
The historic old cabins are interesting and many of the buildings are open for touring. Elkmont is one of the most popular destinations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cucumber Gap Trail is naturally a popular trail due to the number of people visiting Elkmont.
Nearby Points of Interest
Elkmont Campgrounds and the Appalachian Clubhouse are both located in Elkmont. Exit Elkmont, turn left onto Little River Road, and drive for 4.9 miles to arrive at Metcalf Bottoms Trail where you can hike to both the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse and the Walker Sisters’ Place.