Little River has nothing to make you say “shazam!” But a couple of places do say, “hey now.” The first is called Old Hole and it’s just a couple of hundred feet upstream from Elkmont. It’s really just a basin between the stone bridge separating Elkmont Campground from the abandoned cottages upstream. Generations have played in the water here, but you’re better off traveling a moderate distance upstream.
Little River gets pinched by several flat boulders into a pool 30 feet across and shaped like a porkchop. It’s a gravel bottom, but under the cascade is a small sweet spot that will be at least eight feet in circumference. Orientation is east to west, so good light. And there is a killer lounge spot where the rock is dished out in ergonomic form. It’s got a depression for hips and shoulders and makes the perfect stone lounge. Six or seven boulders are large enough to relax on in the sun. In addition, the park service has installed a log bench up on the trail.
Just under one-quarter mile above, a short road leads to a nice process of big boulders that slow the river enough to produce a small spot. At least one half dozen big, flat-table sized rocks to stretch out on make this so enjoyable. The pool itself is not extraordinary. It’s got an irregular shape and is not quite deep enough to merit its own review.
A good trip for kids, or the novice hiker. Good trail run, too.