If you’re looking for the best hikes in Gatlinburg, you’re in luck! In this Gatlinburg vacation guide, we’ll share some of our favorite hiking trails in the area so that you can enjoy the beauty of the Smokies on your next visit.
Whether you’re looking for an easy trail to take the kids on or a more challenging hike for yourself, there’s sure to be a perfect trail for you.
If you’re looking for some amazing hiking trails to explore near Gatlinburg, look no further than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
With over 800 miles of trails to choose from, there’s something for everyone. No matter what type of trails you’re looking for, you’r sure to find the best hikes in Gatlinburg that suits your needs.
Is Gatlinburg Good For Hiking?
Yes, Gatlinburg is good for hiking! There are plenty of trails to explore in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Gatlinburg is a great basecamp for your adventures. You’ll definitely want to pack some good hiking shoes and lots of water so you’re ready for the trails.
Of course, before setting off on any hike, it’s important to do a bit of research. You’ll want to know things like the length and difficulty of the trail, what kind of scenery you can expect, and whether there are any special regulations in place (such as permits or passes). But once you have all that sorted out, it’s time to hit the trail!
Whether you’re looking for an easy hike in the Smoky Mountains to a scenic overlook or a challenging trek to one of the park’s waterfalls, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Gatlinburg.
Best Hikes In Gatlinburg
Whether you're looking for an easy day hike or a challenging backpacking trip, the Smokies have it all. Here are the best hikes in Gatlinburg to check out.
Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The moderate difficulty level and stunning views make it a favorite among hikers of all levels. The trail is 4.6 miles round trip, with an option to extend to 5.1 miles and LeConte Lodge.
The first portion of the hike is relatively flat, but there are a few steep sections along the way. The last half-mile of the trail is the most strenuous, with an elevation gain of 1,200 feet.
This trail is a moderate to strenuous 5.4-mile roundtrip hike to Rainbow Falls, the tallest single-drop waterfall in the park. The trailhead is located off Cherokee Orchard Loop Road, which then connects to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
The first part of the trail is steep, but it levels out after a mile or so. Along the way, you'll see old-growth forest, wildflowers, and stunning views of the mountains. Rainbow Falls is worth the effort, especially in the spring when the water flow is high and the rainbow effect is at its best.
Charlies Bunion is a peak located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail to Charlie's Bunion is a strenuous 8-mile round trip hike that follows the Appalachian Trail. The trail includes several stream crossings and some steep sections. Hikers are rewarded with panoramic views from the summit of Charlie's Bunion.
To reach Charlie's Bunion, hikers will follow the Appalachian Trail north for about 4 miles. It will intersect with the Appalachian Trail at mile marker 33.8.
Abrams Falls Trail is a moderate 5-mile out-and-back hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trailhead is located near Cades Cove and the trail takes you to Abrams Falls, a 20-foot waterfall. This is a popular hike in the park so be prepared for crowds, especially on weekends.
The hike is mostly downhill on the way to the waterfall and uphill on the way back. There are several creek crossings along the trail so be sure to wear proper footwear. Allow 3-4 hours for the hike, including time to enjoy the waterfall. Remember that if you start your hike late in the day, you may have to finish in the dark!
This trail is a 2.6-mile round trip hike to Grotto Falls, the only waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that you can walk behind. The trailhead is located just off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail near stop 10. The first half-mile of the trail is relatively easy as it follows an old roadbed.
After crossing a footbridge over Roaring Fork, the trail enters a forest of deciduous trees and then ascends steeply for about 0.6 miles before leveling off as it approaches Grotto Falls. The last 0.1 miles to the falls is wheelchair accessible.
A hike to Clingmans Dome is a great way to experience the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. The trailhead is located at Clingmans Dome, which is the highest point in the park. From here, you will have stunning views of the mountains and valleys below.
The trail is approximately seven miles long, and it takes about four hours to complete. Along the way, you will pass through forests and meadows, and you will have the chance to see wildlife. The trail is rated as moderate in difficulty, and it is best to hike it during the summer months.
The Laurel Falls Trail is a 2.6 mile out-and-back hike that starts at the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail is relatively easy, with only a few moderate sections. The highlight of the hike is Laurel Falls, an 80-foot tall waterfall that cascades over a bed of rocks.
This is a great option for families or anyone looking for a relatively easy hike with stunning scenery. Be sure to bring your camera, as there are plenty of photo opportunities along the way.
Andrews Bald Trail is a beautiful, moderate hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trailhead is located at Forney Ridge Trail and the trail winds its way up to Andrews Bald, a grassy meadow with stunning views.
The hike is approximately 3 miles round trip and is rated as moderate due to the elevation gain. However, the views from Andrews Bald more than make up for the effort required to get there. On a clear day, hikers can see for miles from the bald and it is truly a breathtaking sight.