Hiking the Goshen Prong Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
One of the most beautiful hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the Goshen Prong Trail. The trail follows the rushing and tumbling waters of Goshen Prong from the Little River up into the high elevations of the park.
Getting to the Goshen Prong Trail requires an easy 4 mile hike on the Little River Trail. There is plenty of good parking at the Little River Trailhead in Elkmont and the trek to the Goshen Prong Trailhead is a pleasant and easy walk through an old neighborhood of vacation cabins and along one of the prettiest rivers in the Park.
Once you reach the Goshen Prong Trailhead, a short walk brings you to the “Goshen Gate Bridge.” This bridge over the little River is not only an awesome piece of engineering, but it also makes for an easy crossing of the Little River. It’s a great spot to linger and listen to the music of the river.
Once you cross the bridge, the Goshen Prong becomes more of a trail than the broad avenue of the Little River Trail. Here is where the real hiking begins.
Hike as far as you feel comfortable. If you like backcountry camping, Campsite 23 is a nice open area that is a located approximately halfway from the Little River Trailhead and the Parking lot at Clingman’s Dome. Either way it’s about 7 miles from the campsite to either Trailhead, so if you don’t have a shuttle lined up or have reserved a campsite and carried your backcountry gear, this is probably a good place to turn around.
An alternative day shuttle hike is to start at the Clingman’s Dome parking lot, hike up to the Appalachian trail and then hike 2 miles west to the Goshen Prong Trailhead, down all the way to the Little River Trail and then into Elkmont. Be sure to either leave a car in Elkmont or arrange to be picked up because it is a LONG way back up to Clingman’s Dome.
Either way, the Goshen Prong Trail is a wonderful hike in a remote part of the park that is both interesting and challenging!