sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

5 Popular Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains You Need to Try

Abrams Falls in Cades Cove
September 24, 2019

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of hiking trails. Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a great way to get out in nature and get in your exercise for the day. From small kids to older adults, everyone will enjoy hiking the trails in the Smoky Mountains. To help you decide which trails to go on first, we have gathered the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. Here are the 5 most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains you should try:

1. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls in the Smoky Mountains

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. The hike is easy, with a roundtrip length of 2.6 miles. This trail is unique because it’s paved, making it easier to climb than other hiking trails. On some parts of the trail, there are steep drop offs, so keep a close eye on children. Once you reach the top, you’ll see Laurel Falls, the 80-foot-tall waterfall. You can walk across a footbridge to take pictures next to the roaring water, and you’ll definitely want to take pictures here!

2. Clingmans Dome

Popular among families with children and older adults, Clingmans Dome also has a paved trail. Since the hike is steep, the National Park Service doesn’t recommend taking wheelchairs or strollers on this trail. The roundtrip length is 1.2 miles, and this is one of the tallest points in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, providing you with an incredible view when there’s no smoke.

3. Gatlinburg Trail


Looking for a hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains that’s a little closer to our hotel? The Gatlinburg Trail is probably the hike you’re looking for. It is 3.8 miles roundtrip, and you’ll walk past the Little Pigeon River most of the trail. This is a great trail for kids and adults with the views of the river and shade from the tall trees. It’s a beautiful hike any time of the year.

4. Abrams Falls

Visiting Cades Cove and want to get out and stretch your legs? Abrams Falls is a hiking trail along the Cades Cove Loop. Its roundtrip length is 5 miles, and you’ll walk through old forest growth and along the river until you reach the waterfall. It stands 20 feet tall and has an impressive amount of water gushing over the side. This is another trail that’s beautiful any time of the year.

5. Grotto Falls

grotto falls in smoky mountains

A unique and popular hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains is Grotto Falls. The hike is 3 miles roundtrip and considered moderate. You’ll walk along the river for a good part of the hike. Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll see it stands 25 feet tall. What makes it unique is this is one of the only waterfalls in the Smokies you can walk behind. This trail is also used to carry supplies to the top of Mt. LeConte, so you might encounter a llama on your hike!

Hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains range from easy to difficult, so there’s something for everyone. You’ll definitely want to try one of these popular hiking trails! If you want to know what else you should do while you stay with us, check out these Gatlinburg attractions!