sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

3 Great Hikes That You Can Take From the Sugarlands Visitor Center

sugarlands visitors center
March 21, 2022

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is the perfect place to start your day at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! In addition to a free 20 minute film about the park, extensive natural history exhibits and bookstore, you will find several fun trails that depart right outside of the building! Here are 3 great hikes that you can take from the Sugarlands Visitor Center:

1. Cataract Falls

One of the great hikes that you can enjoy from the Sugarlands Visitor Center is the trail to Cataract Falls, which starts just out back of the building. This is an easy hike that is less than a mile round trip, making it an excellent choice for families and anyone looking to stretch their legs in preparation for a longer hike. While walking along this trail, you will pass identification markers that highlight the different types of trees in the area and cross a creek on a footbridge next to a large sycamore tree. Finally, after the bridge, the trail goes right to the waterfall where you can get some fabulous photos!

2. Gatlinburg Trail


Another one of the great hikes that you can take from the Sugarlands Visitor Center is the Gatlinburg Trail, which travels 1.9 miles one way to the outskirts of Gatlinburg. This popular trail is relatively flat and runs through the forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, which is crossed at one point via a pedestrian bridge. This hike features lovely views of the river, as well as the foundations and chimneys of several old homesites. The Gatlinburg Trail is also unique in that it is one of just two trails within the national park where visitors can walk dogs and ride bicycles!

3. Fighting Creek Nature Trail

The Fighting Creek Nature Trail is a 1.2 mile loop trail that follows along Fighting Creek, an important tributary of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. This pleasant trail not only offers the chance to experience some beautiful scenery, but the opportunity to view two historic properties! About a third of a mile down the trail, you will pass the site of Noah McCarter’s former cabin. Once you reach the loop’s turnaround point, you will find the John Ownby cabin that dates back to 1860! You are free to walk inside to admire the craftsmanship before heading back on the return portion of the trail.

Where to Stay

front of sidney james hotel in gatlinburg

Stay close to the Sugarlands Visitor Center for your vacation at our affordable hotel in downtown Gatlinburg! We offer a variety of comfortable accommodations so that you can enjoy a perfect night of rest, including a selection of rooms that include a private Jacuzzi tub! After a day of hiking, you can look forward to returning to our hotel for a refreshing swim in our indoor and outdoor pools! Some of the other wonderful amenities at our hotel include private balconies, picnic areas, a guest laundry room, an exercise room and more!

Check out all of the rooms at our hotel in Gatlinburg TN today to enjoy a fantastic vacation just minutes away from the Sugarlands Visitor Center! We look forward to seeing you soon!