Schoolhouse Gap Trail (Whiteoak Sink)Easy

Laurel Creek Rd / Townsend, TN

Schoolhouse Gap Trail (Whiteoak Sink)

Distance (One Way)

2.1 miles

Elevation Gain

500 feet


Laurel Creek Rd


Townsend, TN

Trail Description Written by Caroline Sullivan

Schoolhouse Gap Trail is located just northeast of Cades Cove in Townsend, TN. It is most commonly associated with spring wildflowers and White Oak Sinks. It intersects with Scott Mountain Trail, Chestnut Top Trail, Turkeypen Ridge, and Bote Mountain Trail across Laurel Creek Road.

You can find the trailhead off Laurel Creek Road just opposite the true trailhead for Bote Mountain Trail. Turn right at the Townsend Wye and head toward Cades Cove on Laurel Creek Road for about 3.9 miles. You'll see a large parking lot on the right. The trailhead sign for Schoolhouse Gap Trail is right next to it.

At the 1.1 mile marker you will reach the intersection with Turkeypen Ridge Trail. Just past this junction on the left is an unmarked side trail for Whiteoak Sink, an area with a waterfall and cave. The spur trail is about a mile long. During wildflower season (April through early May) the Great Smoky Mountains National Park implements group size limits to Whiteoak Sink to reduce the effects of trampling flowers to protect the sensitive species. The area around the cave is blocked off to protect the Little Brown Bat population.

#townsend tn

Schoolhouse Gap Trail (Whiteoak Sink) Elevation Profile

Schoolhouse Gap Trail (Whiteoak Sink) Elevation Profile Tom Dunigan's Elevation Profiles

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


Gentle Slope

Paul Petzoldt Scale






Shenandoah Scale






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