sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Top 4 Hiking Trails near Gatlinburg TN to Try in the Fall

trail in the Smoky Mountains during fall
October 15, 2018

With the mountains transforming into vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow, there is no better time to visit Gatlinburg. The best way to experience the beauty of fall in the Smokies is to get outside and go for a hike! Here are 4 of the top hiking trails near Gatlinburg, TN that you don’t want to miss.

1. Alum Cave Trail

couple hiking in the smoky mountains

Admire the fall foliage and the unique geological features along the Alum Cave Trail. At about 1.3 miles in, you will come to Arch Rock. This natural arch was formed when wind and water eroded away the softer rock. The trail passes right through this geological wonder, making for a fantastic photo-op. At the 2-mile mark, you will arrive at Inspiration Point. This overlook provides scenic views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge, The Eye of the Needle and Myrtle Point. From here, you can continue on to the peak of Mount LeConte, which is a bit steeper of a hike. However, the views are well worth it when you reach the top!

2. Andrews Bald Trail

For beautiful views of the Great Smoky Mountains, take a hike on the Andrews Bald Trail. This hike begins at the Clingmans Dome parking lot. It covers 1.8 miles until reaching Andrews Bald, one of several “balds” in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The term “bald” refers to mountaintops that are covered by grass instead of trees. Once you reach the bald, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the southern half of the park. It’s also a great spot to spread out a blanket and have a picnic!

3. Gatlinburg Trail

dog hiking in the mountains

If you want to bring your pup on your hike, the Gatlinburg Trail is the one for you! It is one of the two pet-friendly trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You and your furry friend can enjoy the beautiful fall colors and views of the Little Pigeon River. This 1.9 mile trail travels one-way from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Gatlinburg. It is a relatively flat trail, making it a favorite among runners, walkers and bicyclists.

4. Porters Creek Trail

Get the whole family in the fall spirit and visit Porters Creek Trail! This trail is kid-friendly and especially beautiful during the changing seasons. About a mile into the hike, you will come to a fork in the road. If you go right, you’ll come to the historic John Messer farm site. You’ll see a barn that was built by John Whaley himself around 1875 and a cabin built by members of the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club in the 1930s. You can also continue left at the fork toward Fern Falls, a breathtaking 40-foot waterfall! The waterfall combined with the fall foliage will make for a picture-perfect backdrop.

We would love to share more of our favorite hiking trails near Gatlinburg, TN. Start planning your autumn getaway and book with us today! We look forward to seeing you this fall at Sidney James Mountain Lodge!