A 5-mile round-trip hike on the Little Cataloochee Trail is planned and it is rated easy to moderate, including some short steep sections. The Little Cataloochee Trail follows an old road that provided access between the Big and Little Cataloochee communities in the past. Stops on the hike include the Hannah Cabin and the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church and cemetery. After 2.5 miles, the guided portion of the hike will end at the restored Dan and Rachel Cook cabin on Coggins Branch. Participants will have the option of further exploring the area on their own and returning to their cars at their own pace.
The Cook cabin, built in the 1850s, was dismantled in the mid-1970s after it was damaged by vandals. The pieces of the structure were in storage until 1999 when funds to restore the cabin were made available from the Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Aurora Foods, makers of Log Cabin Syrup.
Participants should meet the Ranger at the parking area on the left just after entering Cataloochee valley. From there, participants will follow the Ranger and drive 5.5 miles to the trailhead. Those attending should bring drinking water and may also want to pack a lunch to eat at the Cook Cabin. It is advised to wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots, and because weather in the Smoky Mountains can be unpredictable, especially in October, a light jacket and rain gear are also recommended.
The best route into Cataloochee is Cove Creek Road which is accessible from Highway 276 near its intersection with Interstate 40 at North Carolina exit 20. Once on Highway 276 immediately turn on to Cove Creek Road. The drive from Highway 276 to Cataloochee is 10 miles. Cove Creek Road is a winding two-lane road and includes a four-mile section that is unpaved.... read the rest of the story by Subscribing now.