Rich Mountain Loop
History, Wildflowers, and Views!
Rich Mountain Loop is a great way to enjoy Cades Cove away from the crowds. There's some history, like John Oliver Cabin. There are wildflowers, like mountain laurel. There's also some nice views of Cades Cove.
You'll start the hike by crossing Cades Cove Loop Road. Hike for 0.5 miles until you get to the trailhead. This is where the loop starts. Turn left onto Rich Mountain Loop Trail and hike for 2.9 miles. Along the way, you'll pass John Oliver Cabin on your left. This is the oldest log home in Cades Cove.
Take a right at the next intersection onto Indian Graves Gap and hike for 2.6 miles. More views and flame azalea are the highlights of this section. At the next trailhead, make a right onto Crooked Arm Ridge and hike for 2.2 miles. Just before the junction with Rich Mountain Loop Trail is Crooked Arm Falls. The falls are 25' and can be easy to miss. When you get to the Rich Mountain Loop trailhead, make a left to hike 0.5 miles back to Cades Cove Loop Road.
While this is a loop hike, keep in mind you can hike it the way you want to!:) You don't have to hike the whole thing. While I've hiked the whole loop, I've also revisited this hike in portions. You could start with the Rich Mountain Loop side and see the cabin then turn back and hike the Crooked Arm Ridge until you see the waterfall. Remember, it's all up to you.:)
Total Hike Length: 8.5 mile loop
Approximate Elevation: Starts at 1900' and stays fairly level for 1.5 miles. Trail starts ascending after John Oliver Cabin to about 3200' at Indian Grave Gap Trail junction. Trail peaks at a bit under 3700' then gradually descends to 3400' at Crooked Arm Ridge Trail junction. Trail ends by descending back to 1900' at Cades Cove Loop Rd.
How to get to the trail: Park at the beginning of Cades Cove Loop Road. Cross the road to the trailhead on the right.
Return from Rich Mountain to Cades Cove