roaring fork motor trail in the smoky mountains

5 Hiking Trails in Gatlinburg TN First Time Visitors Can’t Miss

When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the first time, you’re probably wondering where you should explore. With over 850 miles of hiking trails, there are plenty to choose from! If you’re staying in Gatlinburg, there are actually quite a few hiking trails right outside of the city you won’t want to miss. Here are 5 hiking trails in Gatlinburg TN first time visitors don’t want to miss:

1. Cataract Falls Trail

cataract falls in the great smoky mountainsWhether you’re looking for the perfect trail to do with young kids or you want to start out easy, Cataract Falls Trail is a great option. The entire trail is less than 1 mile, but you’ll see all kinds of neat features along the way. You’ll walk alongside the creek, see trees with unique shapes, and you might even see small wildlife. At the end of this out-and-back trail, you’ll come up on Cataract Falls, a small waterfall!

2. Sugarland Valley Nature Trail

Another easy hiking trail in Gatlinburg TN you won’t want to miss experiencing is Sugarland Valley Nature Trail. It is located right next to the Sugarland Visitor Center, and it is a 0.5-mile long loop trail that’s paved, making it perfect for accessibility. People of all ages will have fun walking through the woods and beside the river. This is a great trail for first time visitors!

3. Gatlinburg Trail

gatlinburg trailGatlinburg Trail is located right outside of downtown Gatlinburg, making it a simple trail to get to. It is considered easy, and this trail has a round trip length of 3.8 miles. You’ll make your way through the Smoky Mountain woods, across the river, and along a worn path. First time visitors to the national park will enjoy this trail because it’s easy but longer than quite a few of the other easy nature trails. Plus, Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only pet friendly hiking trails in Gatlinburg TN!

4. Roaring Fork Motor Trail

If you have older people with you on your first trip to the Smokies, they may not want to get out and hike for a long time. The perfect solution to that is Roaring Fork Motor Trail! This trail isn’t for hiking on foot, it’s for driving in the car. The loop is 5.5 miles long, and you’ll pass over creeks, see waterfalls, and be able to get out and explore historic buildings. There are also several hiking trails along this motor trail if you do decide you want to get out and stretch your legs!

5. Grotto Falls Trail

grotto falls in smoky mountainsIf you’re looking for an easy-to-moderate trail that has a breathtaking waterfall, then you should explore Grotto Falls Trail. This is an out-and-back trail that spans 2.6 miles round trip. Most of the trail follows along the river, so you’ll have incredible views along your trek through the woods. You might even spot some wildlife as you climb the mountainside! Once you do see Grotto Falls, your trip will be well worth it. This waterfall stands at 25 feet tall, and it’s the only waterfall in the national park you can walk behind!

First time visitors will have a blast exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, especially if they check out these hiking trails in Gatlinburg TN! You know what you want to do when you head into the park, but what will you do while you’re in town? Check out these Gatlinburg attractions you won’t want to miss when you stay with us!