OverviewCove Mountain is one of the most visited mountains in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, located in eastern Tennessee, near the North Carolina border.
The trail is wide and well maintained. Tens of thousands hike the trail every year. Luckily, most only walk up the first mile to a Laurel Falls one of the more popular destinations in the park. The rest of the route has much less traffic and is an enjoyable walk-up. There is also a considerably high population of bears in the area due to an abundant supply of acorns, one of their major food sources. No special equipment is necessary. Just the usual: water, food, and a jacket.
The route is quite simple. The first mile is even paved to the falls. After that, it becomes a standard surface trail that you expect in the eastern mountains. The trail is 4 miles in length (8 miles round trip) and gains about 1600 feet in elevation. The forest appears to be virgin growth with many 6 feet in diameter. Oaks, hickory, hemlock and tulip poplar abound.
Fly in Knoxville TN or Ashville, NC. It is also easy drive from most US eastern cities to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The best entrance into the park is from highway 321 into Gatlinburg. The highway will lead you right into the park. Shortly after you enter you will see the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Take a right on to Little River Road 3.7 miles to the Fighting Gap Creek Trailhead. The trail is labeled Laurel Falls.
Unlike most National Parks, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is free.
Cove Mountain Trail
As with most National Parks, GSMNP has excellent organized campgrounds with great facilities. There is a $14 fee for Tents.
Backcountry permits are available at park offices.
View From the Summit
• National Parks Service: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
This site provides most of the information you need concerning the park.
• Gatlinburg Visitors Site
Guide BookHiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park
, A Falcon Guide
by Kevin Adams, (2003)