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There are many hiking trails in Gatlinburg that are fit for people of all ages, so everyone can see the Great Smoky Mountains. Although the trails range in difficulty, several are ideal for families with children. None of these hikes are extremely difficult, but this list explains the easiest hikes for families with children. This list is ranked from those most appropriate for younger children to those that may be better with children that are a little older.
Cosby Nature Trail
When choosing a hiking trail in Gatlinburg for younger kids, this simple one mile loop is a great place to start. The trail winds through the forest and crosses many streams. The trail itself is very level, so walking should not be too difficult. The trail is signposted just past the Cosby entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and a trail guide is available at the trail entrance.
This hike is approximately 2.6 miles long and is one of the waterfall hiking trails in Gatlinburg. The roundtrip loop trail goes through the forest and gently climbs to the Grotto Falls waterfall. At times, the trail can seem moderately steep, but children should be able to hike it without any problems. Along the way, hikers will cross four small streams. As a bonus for hikers taking the Grotto Falls trail in the summer, hundreds of wildflowers decorate the path. Note that the trail is extremely popular for families. There are additional parking spaces available beyond the trailhead parking lot.
Baskins Creek Falls
This moderate three mile roundtrip trail is part of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The trail starts off with an easy climb and then levels off for the remainder of the journey. Only the last 150 feet of the trail, leading to the waterfall, is a bit steep. Most kids will be able to manage the last 150 feet with the assistance of accompanying adults.
This is a bit of a longer trail at 4.2 miles round-trip. It is relatively easy for kids of all ages. This hike is especially well known for its access to beautiful wildflowers in the spring and summer months. This trail is accessed by driving 1.5 miles south from Sugarlands Visitor Center along Newfound Gap Road.
Being one of the most popular hiking trails in Gatlinburg, Alum Cave is approximately 4.4 miles long. The round-trip hike begins with a moderate climb and is well suited for older kids. After just over two miles, hikers will reach Alum Cave which is actually a bluff rather than a cave. However, the views from this point are spectacular. To access the trail, visitors should drive 8.7 miles south from the Sugarlands Visitor Center along Newfound Gap Road. This particular hike is quite popular, so two parking lots are available at the beginning of the trail.
If you are searching for things to do other than visit hiking trails in Gatlinburg, you can visit our ‘Pigeon Forge Attractions’ page for more family friendly activities!