Distance: 1.2 mile loop
The Fighting Creek Nature Trail is a popular short trail near the Sugarland Visitor Center. It takes hikers through a very open forest in the Sugarlands along a hillside to the John Ownby Cabin. The cabin is one of the oldest remaining pre-park cabins in the Forks community.
The trail begins at just behind the Sugarland Visitors Center. At the entrance, $0.50 brochure provides a guided description of markers along the trail. The trail begins by forking to the left of the paved path, and runs parallel to a creek with several downed trees.
The trail then crosses over a wooden bridge where the path appears to divide into three. To the right is the Cataract Falls Trail. That path continues for approximately 0.3 miles to a small waterfall.
The natural flow of the Fighting Creek Nature Trail is to follow it to the left. The trail then runs a few hundred yards parallel to Little River Road, and slowly descends a hillside.
At approximately 0.6 miles, John Ownby Cabin can be seen just beyond a creek. The open cabin was built around 1860, and is the last remaining structures in the Forks of the River Community from before the parks. Visitors can walk around inside.
After exploring the cabin, the trail DOES NOT continue out its backdoor. Though there appears to be a path, it quickly ends.
The actual path continues just to the right of where hikers approached the cabin. The cabin actually marks the top of the loop that returns hikers back to Sugarland Visitor Center.
The return path is slightly more elevated, with a few semi-steep climbs that would likely still be considered easy. The trail then descends back to the first bridge and creek crossing. From there, hikers cross over and return on the path back to the Visitors Center.
1. From Gatlinburg Drive South on 441 for 1.9 miles to Sugarland Visitor Center.
2. The Nature Trail begins after crossing past the restrooms and solar cells, and then turning left at the Fighting Creek Nature Trail sign.