Rocky Top on Thunderhead

Hiking to Rocky Top is difficult, but offers breath taking views of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The hike to Rocky Top on Thunderhead Mountain in the Great Smoky Mountains begins from the Anthony Creek Trailhead, located in the Cades Cove picnic area. To reach the trailhead from the Townsend "Y" intersection, drive 7.5 miles west on Laurel Creek Road to the turn-off for the Cades Cove Campground. You should turn left towards the campground, and then almost immediately you'll make another left turn towards the picnic area. The Anthony Creek Trailhead is located at the far end of the picnic area.


The hike itself is just under 14 miles round trip and gains about 3,660 feet in elevation throughout. This hike is not for the casual hiker, though THe summet has some of best views in the entire Smokies.