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Adventure

8 Easy Smoky Mountain Hikes

Enjoy a Smoky Mountain vacation filled with hiking and adventure

The Vacationeer

With more than 500,000 acres of forests, fields and wildlife, there is so much to explore inside the Smoky Mountains National Park.

If this is your first time visiting, consider Hilton Grand Vacations list of easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains.

Grotto Falls Trail Smoky Mountains

Round Trip Hours: 2 hours
Round Trip Distance: 2.6 miles

During a relaxed hike on the Grotto Falls Trail, you'll enjoy scenic landscapes, vibrant foliage and breathtaking views behind a cascading waterfall.

En route to the 25-foot waterfall, prepare yourself for a gentle, but steady ascent. Although this trail is considered an easy hike, wear sturdy shoes to be more comfortable walking across uneven paths.

At the end of the trail, you’ll reach the magnificent Grotto Falls.

Enjoy the soothing sounds and light spray of the falls in this natural oasis, before heading back downhill.

Porters Creek Trail

   

Round Trip Hours: 3 hours
Round Trip Distance: 4 miles

Frequented by locals and tourists alike, the Greenbrier section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is at a lower elevation and remains open all year long. This area of the park offers a serene escape just six miles from the hustle and bustle of downtown Gatlinburg.

The first mile of the trail meanders along the banks of Porters Creek on a gravel road until you come along a farmstead, where the Porters Creek community settled in the early 1900s. Along the way, you’ll also pass John Messer’s barn, built-in 1875, and the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club's cabin, built in the 1930s.

Finish up your hike with an incredible view of Fern Branch Falls. This waterfall, which is a series of cascades, is approximately 40 feet tall.

Fighting Creek Nature Trail

Round Trip Hours: less than an hour
Round Trip Distance: 1.2 miles

The Fighting Creek Nature Trail begins near the Sugarlands Visitors Center, the starting point for many hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A short and simple loop, the Fighting Creek Nature Trail is great for all ages. The trail gets you out into the depths of a gorgeous Smoky Mountain forest within a stone’s throw of downtown Gatlinburg. On the trail, you can enjoy a nice mixture of trees and photo ops.

Keep in mind that black bears are common in this area and trails may be temporarily closed for local bear activity.

Gatlinburg Trail

Round Trip Hours: 1-2 hours
Round Trip Distance: 3.8 miles

This popular hike offers fresh-air exercise, lovely river views, and convenient access into town. As one of the best easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg Trail is a great family-friendly option. It’s also unique as one of two trails in the park to allow dogs and bicycles.

The 3.8-mile roundtrip hike hugs the Little Pigeon River. With its rapids and occasional cascades, the river makes a pleasant companion as you follow this smooth, level trail.

Keep your eyes peeled for relics of old homesteading in these riverside woods.

 

Mingo Falls

Round Trip Hours: less than 1 hour
Round Trip Distance: .5 miles

Just outside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on the Cherokee Indian Reservation lies Mingo Falls, one of the tallest and most spectacular waterfalls in the Southern Appalachians.

This half-mile trail takes you up 160 stairs and to the wooden bridge at the base of the 120-foot-tall Mingo Falls.

Baskins Creek Falls

Round Trip Hours: 2 hours
Round Trip Distance: 3 miles

Baskins Creek Falls is a great choice if you're looking to escape the crowds. Although this trail may prove more challenging, the picturesque views falls are worth it.

Be prepared for the steep and rugged ascent when returning from the falls. Remember to pack lots of water to keep hydrated.

Clingman’s Dome Trail

Round Trip Hours: 1 hour
Round Trip Distance: 1 mile

     

At 6,643 feet, Clingman’s Dome boasts the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The “Dome” lies within both Tennessee and North Carolina and is the highest point in Tennessee. On the clearest of days, visitors may see as far as 100 miles.

Stop by the observation tower for stunning panoramic views of the Great Smokies and unforgettable photo opportunities.

Laurel Falls Trail

Round Trip Hours: 1 hour
Round Trip Miles: 2.3 miles

Named for the mountain laurel that grows abundantly in this area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Laurel Falls trail leads to the 80-foot Laurel Falls waterfall.

The Laurel Falls Trail is a park favorite and can get quite crowded. During the summer months, the parking lot fills up by 9 a.m. Get there early to avoid the crowds and secure your spot.

No matter the season, there are so many easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains National Park to explore.

Read on to learn about our other favorite national parks across the U.S. to explore.

Vacationeer

The Vacationeer

The Vacationeer is a collective of Hilton Grand Vacations storytellers whose goal is to inspire travelers to go further. We're always on the lookout for new destinations to explore, useful travel tips, and unique ideas to help you plan the most memorable vacations possible.

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