Schoolhouse Gap trail in Townsend, TN is wide and gently sloping. There are no steep drops on either side, which makes it one of the most perfect hikes for kids in the Smoky Mountains.
(You know your limitations and the limitations of your children and family best. Although this trail was appropriate for my family, it may not be appropriate for you or your family. Please use your best judgement in deciding whether or not to hike this trail. Neither Mom Explores The Smokies nor the blog owner are responsible for any damage, mishaps or injuries (physical, mental or otherwise) that may occur while you and/or your family/children are on this trail or anywhere in the Smoky Mountains. When in doubt, opt out of this trail.)
Kid Friendly Schoolhouse Gap in the Smoky Mountains:
For my family, hiking this trail turned out to be more of an adventure than we were hoping. We parked in the wrong place and, although we thought we were headed down the correct path, (becasue the sign clearly said Schoolhouse Gap Trail) we were actually on Turkeypen Ridge trail. Turkeypen Ridge, while not the most strenuous, is certainly not the most kid friendly. It is also substantially longer at 3.6 miles one way compared to Schoolhouse Gap’s 2.2.
Because I care about your well being, I would like you to take a close look at this trail sign. If this is not the exact sign that you are seeing when you enter the trail, your are NOT at Schoolhouse Gap. Lesson learned haha!
Related Read: 15 Best Family Hikes In The Smokies
If you are in the correct place, you will be parked in an actual parking lot, not a pull-off. As you enter the trail it will be gloriously wide and flat. Not long after you start walking, you will notice that the trails runs along a peaceful stream, which you will follow the majority of the way.
After we completed our hike down Turkeypen Ridge, we eventually made it to where the two trails intersect. This is the exact moment when we first realized that we weren’t previously on our desired path. It only took us 3.6 miles to figure that out. But, such is life! Now that we were on the correct trail, we finally understood what all the fuss was about. This trail is absolutely amazing for kids!
Related Read: Kid Friendly Smokies: Cades Cove
The trail is wide enough to walk 3 or 4 people across, if no one is coming down in the other direction. Even better, there is no drop off on either side to attract your ever curious tikes. While there may be no grand finale, such as a waterfall for rock formation, Schoolhouse Gap trail does allow you to peacefully reconnect with nature while ascending the gently sloping and unassuming path. Just to be clear, there is no schoolhouse.
This trail does have one great bonus, if you are in town for spring. In April and early May, this trail is filled with gorgeous wildflowers. Although we missed the peak season, we were able to catch a few beauties.
Despite our misstep at the beginning of the day, we had an amazing time making lasting family memories. Isn’t that what it’s all about folks? Wishing the same joy for you and yours.
Please check out some more of our awesome local adventures!