Meigs Mountain Trail – 6.0 miles from Jake’s Creek Trail to Meigs Creek Trail.
Highlights: Wildflowers including Jewelweed, Doll Eyes
Cautions: Many stream crossings, but all easy.
Trailhead: Drive toward Elkmont Campground from Little River Road and follow the signs for Jake’s Creek. On Jake’s Creek Trail, hike past the junction with Cucumber Gap Trail at 0.3 mile and continue 0.1 mile further. Meigs Mountain Trail turns right.
The Meigs Mountain Trail connects Elkmont and Tremont. The side of Meigs Mountain has the distinction of being one of the first parts of the Smokies to be logged by a company. The J.L. English Company went up Blanket Creek before 1900 and removed 3,000 board feet of cherry and basswood. The later lumber companies cut everything they could and then sold the land to the settlers in the 1920’s. Seventeen families lived along Jake’s Creek and many more lived here on the gently sloping side of Meigs Mountain.
The trail starts by descending to Jake’s Creek. You can rock hop across or find a camouflaged foot log downstream. The creek is lined with eastern hemlock and rosebay rhododendron.
After the creek, the trail skirts a raised house site with a stone wall, and a fine spring. It then forks left, Meigs Mountain Trail, and then right goes down to a grassy fenced area where horses are kept.
The trail descends from the creek through open woods of tulip trees mixed with a few small maples. Look for stone walls and a spring house foundation on the left and flat house sites on the right. The trail enters a sheltered cove, and then drops down to a creek valley. Campsite #20 sits at the confluence of several small creeks that make up River Branch of Blanket Creek. The campsite has room for 10 people and is in a broad, open hollow with plenty of flat sites.
After the campsite, you might get a glimpse of Meigs Mountain 4,004 feet elevation on the left. The trail here is a road that probably ran through fields and is now lined with sassafras and sourwood trees, which both turn scarlet early in the fall.
The Meigs Mountain Trail crosses two more creeks easily, but the crossings could be muddy. Just up the trail from the second crossing are some rusted iron pieces of an engine, perhaps a tractor.
At 4.1 mile the trail rises to a small gap and meets Curry Mountain Trail, which goes 3.3 miles down to Little River Road at Metcalf Bottoms.
Just past the junction, a spur trail heads right to a small-maintained cemetery. In 1934 the house barn and smokehouse of Andy Brackin stood here. The campsite is small, with room for two to three tents in a clearing.
About 1.0 mile from the junction, the trail enters a forest of large Eastern Hemlocks and a few Fraser Magnolias growing in clusters. Then you start a long decent through Eastern Hemlock to a dry sandy gap where Meigs Mountain Trail meets Meigs Creek Trail. Meigs Mountain Trail changes its name to Lumber Ridge Trail, which continues on to Tremont.