Turkeypen Ridge hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains is a great hike for older kids and adults. If you are near Townsend, this will make an excellent addition to your Smokies vacation.
Turkeypen Ridge Trail
Let me start by saying that my family hiked this trail accidentally. We wound up reading the sign wrong and we thought that we were on the uber-kid-friendly Schoolhouse Gap Trail. We weren’t.
We had our son in a baby carrier, so it wasn’t that bad for us. The trail is pretty mild as far as incline goes. But due to the extremely narrow path, at times, and the extremely steep drop off to one side, I absolutely do not recommend this trail for young children. It is also 7.2 miles in length round trip, which is more than a bit much for little legs.
That being said, I would definitely recommend this trail for older more mature children. Every child is so unique that it is up to you as the parent to judge what is best for your family. Again the 3 key points are the long length, the intermittently narrow trail and the steep drop off that is present along the entire path. If there is a doubt in your mind, check out some of our more kid-friendly hiking adventures including, Clingman’s Dome, Schoolhouse Gap and Grotto Falls.
Now, onto the trail. The vast majority of the trail was either flat or on a gentle incline. A few times the incline did steepen a bit, but it was very manageable. We definitely didn’t need to take too many breaks on this trail, which was great!
Related Read: 15 Best Family Friendly Hikes In The Smoky Mountains
I have to say this was one of the most enjoyable hikes we have taken as far as nature goes. There were so many interesting types of moss and mushrooms on this path, we just couldn’t possibly take enough pictures. Of course, we had our bear spray ready in case we encountered any more ferocious creatures!
Related Read: Kid Friendly Smokies: Schoolhouse Gap Trail
The wildflowers were also lingering about, although we missed their peak season.
We were totally memorized by all the creepy crawlies that we encountered in our travels. Including this awesome red salamander that was mid-meal. Salamanders are so prevalent in the park that there is even an awesome children’s book written about it.
Related Read: Kid Friendly Smokies: Smoky Mountain Heritage Center
We also saw about 8 trillion of these Apheloria virginiensis millipedes in both pink and yellow. If you see these guys in your travels, do not pick them up. Their bodies secrete cyanide and those beautiful bright colors are a warning.
If you have older kids, this really is a great trail with moderate difficulty and a wealth of natural beauty. We truly enjoyed it. Happy hiking!
Be sure check out our other great adventures 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, mishap 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.)