Sign at the Twentymile trailhead

Twentymile TrailDifficult

Twentymile Ranger Station / Deals Gap

Twentymile Trail

Distance (One Way)

5.0 miles

Elevation Gain

2,300 feet


Twentymile Ranger Station


Deals Gap

Trail Description Written by Caroline Sullivan

Twentymile trail is a fairly difficult 5 mile trail in the southwestern region of the national park. The trailhead is located at Twentymile Ranger Station, just east of Deals Gap and the Tail Of The Dragon on US 129.

The short access road at Twentymile Ranger Station is in poor condition and should only be used by suitable vehicles; some low riding sedans might be scraping their undercarriage on what's left of the pavement. Parking is available near the entrance and up the road slightly near the bunkhouse. The trailhead is closer to the bunkhouse; proceed up the road after parking and go around the locked gate to reach the trail.

The old railroad grade trail is wide enough for two hikers to walk side by side for the entire length of the trail. It was improved by the Civilian Conservation Corps to provide better access to Shuckstack fire tower.

Much of the first couple miles of the trail are accompanied by the sounds of rushing water beside it. Around the half mile mark, the trail intersects with Wolf Ridge Trail. Soon after the intersection is a short marked spur trail to the right taking you to Twentymile Cascade. At 1.8 miles is backcountry campsite #93.

The trail intersects with Long Hungry Ridge trail and Twentymile Loop trail at Proctor Field Gap at 3.1 miles. Past the intersection is the steepest part of Twentymile trail for the remaining 1.9 miles. During the summer months, flame azalea and mountain laurel line both sides of the path. Keep an eye out for bear activity on this part of the trail and make sure you know what to do if you see a bear.

Twentymile trail intersects with the Appalachian Trail and Lost Cove trail at the 5 mile mark. If you take a right on the AT here for 0.3 miles, you'll come across an wide, unmarked intersection where the trail continues in two different directions. Taking a right will take you downhill to continue on the AT toward Fontana Dam. Taking a left uphill will lead you just 0.1 of a mile to Shuckstack fire tower, awarding incredible 360 degree views to those willing to climb it.

#deals gap
#deals gap

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


Fairly Steep

Paul Petzoldt Scale






Shenandoah Scale






Photo Gallery (12)

The above list of hiking trails in the Smokies is incomplete and constantly being updated. If you have information or photos you would like to contribute, please contact [email protected].

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