Explore our top 5 favorite hikes!
Let's hit the trails
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the United States, and for good reason. The park boasts more than 800 miles of trails that wind through stunning mountain vistas, cascading waterfalls and dense forests teeming with wildlife. Hiking in the Smoky Mountains offers something for everyone, from easy nature walks to challenging multi-day backpacking trips. With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which trail to explore first. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a novice, the Smoky Mountains have a trail that will take your breath away.
1. Smoky Mountains National Park - the Laurel Falls Trail This 2.6 mile roundtrip hike is paved and relatively easy, making it accessible to hikers of all skill levels. But don't be fooled by the ease of the trail - the view of the 80-foot high waterfall at the end of the hike is simply breathtaking! With its stunning views and ease of access, the Laurel Falls trail is a must-visit for any hiking enthusiast.
2. Cades Cove If you're looking for an easy, family-friendly hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, look no further than Cades Cove. This hiking spot is known for its beautiful meadows surrounded by towering mountains, providing a picturesque backdrop for your adventure. The trailhead for this nature trail is conveniently located about 7 miles into the Cades Cove Loop Road, just past the visitor center. While you could take a scenic drive to admire the views, hiking is the best way to experience the area. As you traverse the easy day hike, keep an eye out for the remnants of an old chestnut grove and the variety of large, stunning trees including oaks, dogwoods and pine trees. Cades Cove is a great spot for new hikers to gain experience and for families to enjoy a leisurely afternoon outdoors.
3. Chimney Tops Trail The Chimney Tops Trail is a highly sought-after day hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that promises to be a challenge, but one that's definitely worth it. Starting at the Chimney Tops Trail parking area, this out-and-back trail takes you on a steep ascent of 1,400 feet over two miles. Though the climb isn't a lengthy one, it's important to allow yourself ample time to tackle the steep grade. The trail is sure to test your endurance, but the stunning views from the top make it all worth it. Don't miss the chance to conquer the Chimney Tops Trail and soak in the breathtaking views from the summit.
4. Grotto Falls Looking for a family-friendly hike that's perfect for a hot and sunny day? Look no further than the moderate Grotto Falls trail. This hike starts at the marked trailhead in the parking lot for the Trillium Gap Trail and takes you through a stunning old-growth forest with large hemlock trees. The trail features four stream crossings before finally leading you to a cascade, where you'll catch your first glimpse of the upstream Grotto Falls. As you approach the falls, you'll feel the cool mist coming off the water and will want to have your camera ready to capture the beauty of the small walking trail behind the falls. Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park with a walking path behind it, making it a must-see destination for waterfall enthusiasts.
5. Mt. Sterling Gap If you're searching for a moderately challenging day hike that's both rewarding and historic, look no further than the Mt. Sterling Trail. Located in the quiet and lesser-known Mt. Sterling area of the Smokies, this trail offers a glimpse into the valleys that served as common hideouts for deserters during the Civil War. Beginning at the trailhead alongside Mt. Sterling Road, the climb starts off fairly steady and doesn't let up until you reach the summit. Though the ascent to the Mt. Sterling Summit is challenging, with a climb of 2,000 feet in just under 3 miles, the well-maintained trail makes it manageable. With moderate length and difficulty, this hike is the perfect option for those seeking a rewarding day hike that also provides a glimpse into the rich history of the Smokies.
In conclusion, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers some of the best hiking trails in the country. From the popular and iconic Laurel Falls to the challenging Chimney Tops Trail, there is something for every level of hiker. If you're planning a trip to hike these amazing trails, you'll need a place to stay! With Jackson Mountain Rentals, with over 375 cabin and condo options to choose from in the area, all with budget-friendly styles and amenities designed with you in mind. Pack your hiking boots, grab your camera and hit the trails to experience the natural beauty of the Smokies firsthand!