Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
1,100.00 ft (335.28 m)
Trail type
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Middle Prong Trail is located in the Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Just outside of Townsend, Tennessee, the area is easily accessible and yet not as popular as some areas in the park. The Tremont region and the Middle Prong trail is filled with beauty, tranquility and history, however. The area surrounding the trailhead for Middle Prong was once a booming logging community called Stringtown. In the early 1900s, this spot was home to a hotel, a post office, and even tiny homes - before they were hip. Owned by the Little River Lumber Company, the area was logged for close to 30 years.

The trail itself follows the former railroad bed, giving you a nice smooth hike for most of the trail. Middle Prong follows the river along the way, providing an almost constant view of beautiful cascades, roaring waterfalls and tranquil pools. The area is lined with ferns, wildflowers and impressive rock formations. At just a half mile in you'll pass by what appears to be a waterfall; these are actually the remains of a splash dam from the logging days. Right at the 2-mile-mark you'll see a side trail to your right; take the side trail to explore a 100-year-old Cadillac left behind by the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the 1930s close to 200 men set up a CCC camp on Middle Prong and built most of the trails, roads and bridges in the area. Continue past the side trail to the Cadillac to further explore the Middle Prong Trail, the site of the CCC camp, and a tucked away waterfall. Indian Flats Falls is located off of a side trail at exactly 4 miles into the hike. It is filled with serenity and is surrounded by Smoky Mountain Salamanders. After all, the Smokies is known as the salamander capital of the world!

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Wildflowers. History. Waterfalls and cascades. Wide trail.



Trailhead Elevation

1,900.00 ft (579.12 m)


Historically significant

Typically multi-day


Suitable for



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Great trail with gorgeous and continuous views of waterfall. This one of those that can be tough to find. The road leading to trailhead looks a lot like a park service road...and it’s long. You keep thinking “Certainly we aren’t going the right way!!!” Be sure to plan accordingly and check weather for that side of park/mountain. In the winter it can be completely mild in Townsend/Cades Cove and almost blizzard like about 1-2 miles into the hike. We hiked it in January and the snow was very heavy. We were ready for it but others had to turn around and looked miserable/freezing. The trail is almost completely Uphill and tougher than some descriptions would indicate. You can get away with Tennis Shoes in certain weather but I wouldn’t recommend it (despite some other sites’ reviews). It’s less trafficked than Abrams or the Cades Cove Loop but still fairly busy. It’s a must see if you’re in the Smokies.
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