Whether you’re an outdoorsy person or are trying to reconnect with nature, hiking through these gorgeous mountains is always a treat! From scenic views to historical structures, there are so many wonderful things to discover in the Smokies. To help you plan for an amazing trip, here are 5 of the best Smoky Mountain hikes that you are sure to love.
1. Porters Creek Trail
This 7-mile, out and back trail is considered easy in difficulty, making it great for all skill levels! About a half mile into the Porters Creek Trail, you’ll come across some rock walls and old building foundations from an old settlement. Once you’re 0.75 miles in, you’ll reach an old cemetery where early settlers are buried. About a quarter mile from there, you can take a short, spur trail that will lead you to a historic farm site where John Messer’s cantilevered barn is. Past that, you can spot the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club cabin, and if you continue on for another mile, you’ll reach the base of a beautiful waterfall!
2. Laurel Falls Trail
Another one of the Smoky Mountain hikes in the national park that features a waterfall is the Laurel Falls Trail. This 2.4-mile hike has a partially paved trail that’s great for novice hikers and kids, but not so great for strollers and wheelchairs. The 80-foot waterfall is divided into 2 levels, with a walkway crossing the upper half of it. This is the perfect spot to take some amazing photos in front of the falls and relax before heading back the way you came.
3. Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only trails in the national park that allows dogs. You can bring your furry friends along to enjoy this hike as long as you keep them on a leash. This trail travels 1.9 miles one-way to the outskirts of town and passes through a peaceful wooded area with lovely views of the Little Pigeon River.
4. Charlies Bunion Via Appalachian Trail
The hike to Charlies Bunion is an 8.6-mile journey that’s considered moderate in difficulty. Your adventure will start off with a gradual ascent for the first mile. You’ll see breathtaking mountain views as you travel along the world-famous Appalachian Trail! When you’re about 4 miles in, you’ll reach the stone outcrop known as Charlies Bunion. It’s a beautiful spot to stop for some pictures before turning back.
5. Alum Cave Trail
Alum Cave Trail is full of unique rock formations and scenic views of the Smokies! You’ll set out on your journey through an old-growth, hardwood forest. At the 1.3-mile mark, you’ll reach Arch Rock, a natural arch that formed when wind and water eroded away the softer rock. Once you’re 2 miles in, you’ll come to a rocky outcrop called Inspiration Point. From it, you’ll be able to see the gorgeous valley below, surrounded by mountains! This trail’s namesake, the Alum Cave Bluffs can be found about 2.3 miles into the hike. From there, you can either continue on to the summit of Mount Le Conte or turn around and go back the way you came.
The views you’ll see and the memories you’ll make along these Smoky Mountain hikes will be ones you will remember for many years to come. Be sure to check out more about the Smoky Mountain area to find more fun things to do and places to visit while you’re in town.