Hike to Rocky Top

Rate this Adventure Tennessee Cade's Cove Visitor Center

Added by Ally Woodall

This hike has some of the most rewarding views in all of the Smoky Mountains!

Rocky Top is known to be the spot that inspired the famous fight song of the University of Tennessee, which is also an official song for the state of Tennessee. 

The trailhead for this hike begins in the Cade’s Cove picnic area parking lot towards the back side. There are a few parking spots right at the trailhead, so arrive early in the day to ensure a spot. To begin, follow the Anthony Creek Trail for about 3.5 miles. Hikers will pass a horse camp relatively early on and then a few bridges over the creek that the trail follows. The first 2 miles are relatively easy to moderate in difficulty, only gaining about 500 feet in elevation.

At about 3.5 miles, Anthony Creek Trail will join Bote Mountain Trail. Turn right to continue heading up to Rocky Top. Here the trail landscape will change slightly and increase elevation gain. Rhododendron line the trail on each side and create a dense barrier limiting visibility through the woods. Erosion has also created a ditch-like tunnel on this portion of the trail.

At around 5.2 miles (1.7 miles after turning on Bote Mountain Trail), hikers will reach the junction of the Appalachian Trail by Spence Field. Turn left here and you’ll be rewarded with some incredible views, which only get better as you head towards Rocky Top. The last 1.2 miles to Rocky Top are pretty steep, but well worth the effort.

Hikers will know they’ve reached Rocky Top once they climb up a steep incline and reach a rocky, bald patch. At this point you can see almost 360 degree panoramic views. Relax and take in the views of this incredible place!

Pack List

  • Day Pack
  • Drinking Water
  • First Aid Kit
  • Trekking Poles
  • Camera
  • Trail Snacks
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

12.8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

3500 Feet

Features:

Easy Parking
Picnic Area
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

Have you done this adventure? Have something to add? You could be the first to leave a review!

Added by Ally Woodall

More Adventures Nearby

Hike House Mountain, TN

Tennessee / House Mountain Welcome Center

House Mountain is a short, at times strenuous hike that is doable in all weather conditions.

Davis Coulter
3 Saves

Hike at The Outback at Shelby Farms Park Conservancy

Tennessee / Shelby Farms Dog Park - The Outback

Parking can be found at Raleigh Lagrange Rd and Trinity Rd. There are several trails to follow as well as trails that can be found into the wooded areas.

Adam Hite
2 Saves

Climb at Foster Falls SP

Tennessee / Foster Falls Visitor Center

Foster Falls will suit any climber. A novice climber can find routes here, and an expert can find new and exciting projects. There are a few camping sites near the climbing area.

Garrett Schmidt
3 Saves