Top 5 Trails in the Smoky Mountains You Should Hike
The Smoky Mountains have over 850 miles of hiking trails in the national park. All of them are beautiful and full of different features you can see. If you only have time to try a few, you should check out these top 5 trails in the Smoky Mountains you should hike:
1. Laurel Falls
One of the most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains is Laurel Falls. This 2.6-mile roundtrip hike is popular because the entire trail is paved, preventing people from tripping over roots and rocks. It’s a great hike for families because of the paved path, but be careful as you walk because of some steep drop offs. In the spring, you can see why the trail is named after mountain laurel because of the abundance of the flower. Once you reach the top, you’ll see the 80-foot-tall waterfall and the footbridge that breaks it into an upper and lower section. People love to take pictures in front of the waterfall!
2. Elkmont Nature Trail
Aren’t much of a hiker but want to enjoy the beauty of the mountains? The Elkmont Nature Trail is the perfect hike for you! At less than a mile, this trail is great for small kids, senior adults, and families. You’ll get to walk over a creek on a footbridge, enjoy the woods, and possibly even see wildlife. There are quite a few wildflowers on this trail too.
3. Grotto Falls
Want to see another waterfall? Grotto Falls is another great trail in the Smoky Mountains. The roundtrip length is 2.6 miles and is considered moderate due to the elevation gain and rocky trail. Walk past creeks, through the woods, and you’ll eventually come up on the 25-foot waterfall. Grotto Falls is unique because it’s one of the only waterfalls in the national park you can walk behind. Walking around the falls and on mossy rocks can be dangerous, so please be cautious!
4. Gatlinburg Trail
You don’t have to go far to find great trails in the Smoky Mountains! Gatlinburg Trail is right outside of downtown. The trail is 3.8 miles roundtrip. You’ll walk along the west prong of the Little Pigeon River and then cross it on a footbridge. There are old remains of homesteads, which are neat to see. Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only trails that allows dogs, so you might see some furry friends along the way! Learn more about the Gatlinburg Trail here.
5. Porters Creek Trail
If you’re looking for a trail that has it all, Porters Creek Trail is the one you should hike. At one of the first forks in the trail, you can make your way to the John Messer farm. There’s a cantilevered barn and an old cabin. In the spring, this trail is full of wildflowers. Farther up along the trail is Fern Branch Falls, a 60-foot-tall waterfall. You might even see wildlife along Porters Creek!
You’ll enjoy any of the trails in the Smoky Mountains you decide to hike. Since you know you want to go hiking when you stay with us, find out what else there is to do by looking at these area attractions!