Top 6 Easy Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
Hiking is one of the best ways to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You don’t have to be experienced to enjoy the beauty of the area, because there are plenty of easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains! From leisurely walks through the woods to waterfalls at the end of the trails, you’ll have a variety of trails to choose from! Check out these top 6 easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Cataract Falls
People of all ages will enjoy exploring Cataract Falls Trail. This trail is only 1.1 miles roundtrip. It is near Gatlinburg, and the path is well worn. You’ll walk alongside the creek for a good portion of the trail, and there are pretty wooded views. Many people use this trail for bird watching. Near the end, you’ll come up on Cataract Falls, a 25-foot-tall waterfall.
2. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
The shortest trail on this list is the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. It is a loop trail that is 0.5 miles roundtrip, and it is also near Gatlinburg. It’s actually beside the Sugarlands Visitor Center. You’ll be able to walk through the woods on a paved path, and the trail is flat. You’ll hear the rush of the river near the trail, and you might even see it along your walk.
3. Gatlinburg Trail
Another easy hike in the Smoky Mountains is the Gatlinburg Trail. This is the only trail in the national park that starts in downtown Gatlinburg. It is also one of the only dog friendly trails in the national park. You’ll start out hiking along the west prong of the Little Pigeon River, then cross over the water on a footbridge. There are beautiful views of the woods, and farther along the trail, there’s a spot that has mountain views. Near the end, you’ll find old remains of homesteads.
4. Laurel Falls
If you’re searching for an easy hike in the Smoky Mountains that has some elevation gain, you should hike Laurel Falls. This out-and-back trail is near Gatlinburg. The roundtrip length is 2.6 miles, and the path is paved, making it easier to hike than other trails. In the spring, you can see tons of mountain laurel, which is where the falls and trail got their names. At the end of the hike, you’ll see Laurel Falls, the two-tiered, 80-foot-tall waterfall you can walk across on a footbridge. This is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the entire park!
5. Elkmont Nature Trail
Another simple trail that allows you to be immersed in nature is Elkmont Nature Trail. This loop trail is 0.8 miles roundtrip, and it is also near Gatlinburg. People enjoy hiking this trail in the spring to see wildflowers, and others like to bird watch along the hike. There’s a small creek where you can spot fish and other creatures in the water. This trail is great for people of all ages and skill levels.
6. Metcalf Bottoms Trail
If you plan on being in the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area, you should hike the Metcalf Bottoms Trail while you’re there. This out-and-back trail is 1.5 miles roundtrip. It has a ton of wildflowers in the spring and summer, and you will enjoy walking alongside the creek. At the end of the trail, you’ll come up on an old schoolhouse and a graveyard. You can step inside the building to explore, and there’s a placard that gives you a little history about the schoolhouse.
Exploring easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains is just one fun activity you can enjoy on your next vacation. Want to know what else you can do when you book a vacation with us? Check out these other fun things to do in Pigeon Forge!