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Townsend is a gateway community to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The small town, however, has its own charms, including this beautiful hike-and-bike trail. The Townsend Historical Trail runs the length of the town on both sides of US 321/Lamar Alexander Parkway. It stretches 4.5 miles along each side of the highway for a total of 9 miles. Underpasses allow trail users to switch between the trail segments on the north and south sides of the highway.
The trail runs along Little River and there are places where users can get a good glimpse of it, including the 0.3-mile unpaved River Walk, a short diversion that was built and maintained by volunteers. Other points of interest include the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center and the Little River Railroad and Lumber Company Museum, for insight into the natural and economic history of the town and region. The trail also takes users past local eateries and other businesses.
The trail features some mild slopes and intersects with roads and driveways so always proceed with caution.
There is a parking lot on the east end, on Towns End Drive. Trail users can also park at the Townsend Visitor Center (7906 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy), where they can get brochures detailing the points of interest in town and along the trail.
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