Turkeypen Ridge trail in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great hike, with very little incline. If you are near Townsend, this will make an excellent addition to your Smokies vacation.
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Turkeypen Ridge Hiking Trail in The Smoky Mountains
round-trip length: just over 7 miles
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-family-friendly Schoolhouse Gap Trail. We weren’t.
We had our son in a baby carrier, so it wasn’t that bad for us. Although this trail is pretty mild as far as incline goes, 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 children. It is also 7.2 miles in length round trip, which is more than a bit much for little legs.
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
Flora and Fauna
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 ferocious creatures!
Related Read: Kid Friendly Smokies: Schoolhouse Gap Trail
The wildflowers were also lingering about, although we missed their peak season. You can catch a wide variety of flowers here, during the spring.
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.
For adults and responsible teens, 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.