Cars, Gatlinburg, Great Smoky Mountains, Hiking, History, Parks, Staying Active

Rusted Cadillac off of Middle Prong Trail

One more hidden gem you’ll see as you’re hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a rusted Cadillac. This sight is off of Middle Prong Trail, a difficult trail that is about 11 miles roundtrip. To get to the trailhead from the Townsend “Y” intersection, drive west on Laurel Creek Road towards Cades Cove. About two-tenths of a mile from the intersection, turn left and drive 2 miles to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. From the Institute, you’ll drive another 3.1 miles until you reach the far end of the road.

At the beginning of the trail, you’ll see beautiful rapids and small waterfalls along the hike. The Cadillac is about 1.9 miles from the trailhead. In the middle of the path, there is a small pile of rocks. Hikers have used these to mark where the Cadillac is off the trail. Look to the right and you’ll see a small footpath. You’ll follow this path for about 50 feet, and look behind fallen trees for a small clearing. The Cadillac is sitting right there! You won’t be able to see it from the trail, but you will know you’re in the right spot when you see rocks in the middle of the trail. The exact location is 35.61286, -83.64413.

This is an old car, probably from the 1920s or 1930s. The car isn’t fully intact, but all of the pieces sit together so you can easily tell it’s an old car. There aren’t any wheels left, but it’s cool to see a piece of history preserved in the middle of the woods.

Middle Prong Trail is located in Tremont, which used to be where logging took place. Little River Railroad and Lumber Company was located in Townsend in the 1900s, and they harvested most of the trees in the area, leaving it pretty bare for about 38 years. The trail actually follows along an old railroad path. There were several log camps in the area, so workers and families lived nearby. No one knows the history of this particular vehicle, but people assume it was from the Little River Railroad days.

Many people say this trail is ideal if you want to see waterfalls because it’s not heavily traveled and they are beautiful. You’ll pass beside 3 waterfalls along the trail, plus several cascades and cataracts. You’ll pass over a footbridge at the beginning of the trail. If you’re in the area during the spring and summer, you might see wildflowers along this portion of the trail. You’ll then come up on Lower Lynn Camp Falls, and a little farther down is Lynn Camp Falls. Then, you’ll be in the area where the secret Cadillac is!

middle prong trail

If you hike past this point, you will see other history markers. Continuing on Middle Prong Trail, there are old home remains. There is an old chimney from a home and remnants of the railroad. Around 4 miles from the trailhead, there is a small footpath that leads you to Indian Flats Falls.

You don’t want to miss out on finding the secret Cadillac along Middle Prong Trail.

At the end of the trail, you’ll see Indian Flats Falls, which is incredible to see in the winter.


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