This hidden moss covered bridge in the Smoky Mountains looks like something out of a fairy tale
The Great Smoky Mountains are rich in history and full of hidden gems. Through the sands of time, these lost landmarks become something of whimsical fantasies. An old spring house becomes a fairy house. A trail connection becomes a hidden, abandoned tunnel. And an ordinary stone bridge becomes a moss-covered troll bridge.
This beautiful moss-covered bridge – or as locals refer to it, the troll bridge – is located in the Elkmont region of the Great Smoky Mountains, arguably one of the most history-rich regions of the national park. And while the bridge certainly has a whimsical look to it, rest assured, you won’t find any kind of creature or monster at the Elkmont troll bridge. Ghosts, on the other hand, might be a different story.
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Elkmont ghost town and its troll bridge
Elkmont is rumored to be haunted. At least, that’s what some locals – locals who believe in that sort of thing – will tell you. According to the National Park Service (NPS), the first settlers in Elkmont arrived in the mid-1800s. They were homesteaders, hunters and loggers. By the early 1900s, Elkmont became the second-largest town in the county, largely because of its logging and mining operations. The town had a post office, a school, a hotel, a general goods store, a church and residences. Eventually, the area grew and a resort in Elkmont became the go-to spot for East Tennessee’s wealthy socialites.
When the national park came along, Elkmont’s cottage owners were given lifetime leases that were converted to 20-year leases in 1952. The leases were renewed once in 1972, but the renewal was denied in 1992. The buildings were scheduled to be torn down. However, some were preserved. And visiting the site today certainly inspires thoughts of super natural possibilities. But just off the Little River trail, you will find another original piece of the community, which is known as the Elkmont troll bridge.
How to find the troll bridge
The Little River Trail is in the heart of the historic Elkmont area and it’s the best way to find the antique, moss-covered troll bridge. To get to the bridge, take a side trail that you will find to the right of the Little River trail, about 100 feet in. The side trail will take you through the forest until you reach a bridge off Millionaire’s Row. This bridge is unmarked and is over a small creek. It’s a fun little hidden gem to find while exploring this iconic region of the Smokies. The trail also offers a beautiful stream and small waterfalls along the path. It is considered to be between easy and moderate in difficulty. Roundtrip, it’s a little under five miles, but you can also choose to walk a section of it and turn back around.
Tips on hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains
We like to remind our readers to hike responsibly when they enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in the world with an estimated 14 million visitors each year. Unfortunately, an increase in visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has led to an increase in trash, waste and litter on the mountains. All hikers and visitors who visit the Great Smoky Mountains are advised to follow the principles of Leave No Trace, a mission that teaches and inspires people to enjoy the outdoors responsibly and help preserve plant and animal life.
Have YOU found the troll bridge in the Great Smoky Mountains? What are your favorite secret spots? Let us know in the comments! View the web story version of this article here.