Top 5 Smoky Mountain Hikes to Try with Your Family
The Smoky Mountains draw in millions of people every year with their unparalleled beauty, and you can experience it all for yourself when you visit! Hiking is one of the best ways to take in all the gorgeous mountain views and there are hikes for every skill level! To help you make the most of your time here, we put together a list of the top 5 Smoky Mountain hikes to try with your family.
1. Kephart Prong Trail
You and your family can explore the history of the Smokies when you hike on the Kephart Prong Trail. This out-and-back trail is just under 4 miles long and is considered to be a relatively easy hike. As you move along, you may spot remnants of the logging era and the Civilian Conservation Corps camp. You will see how the forests have reclaimed the landscape since those days. You may even come across some native wildlife, like the salamanders that can sometimes be found along the stream.
2. Porters Creek
Porters Creek is a 7-mile, out-and-back trail that is considered easy in difficulty. At a little past the half-mile mark, you’ll come to a series of rock walls and old building foundations from an old settlement. Once you’ve hiked 0.75 miles, you’ll arrive at the old cemetery where early settlers are buried. If you continue on to the 1-mile mark, you’ll see the historic farm site! Here, you will find John Messer’s cantilevered barn and the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin. The gravel path ends here, and to continue on to the waterfall, take a left on the trail. You’ll be glad that you did because the waterfall is breathtaking, and it makes the perfect backdrop for any photo!
3. The Gatlinburg Trail
If you are introducing your kids to hiking for the first time, this easy-going trail is a great choice! The Gatlinburg Trail travels one-way to the outskirts of Gatlinburg from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This 1.9-mile Smoky Mountain hike is relatively flat, making it ideal for joggers, walkers, and bicyclists. It also offers beautiful views of the surrounding forest and the Little Pigeon River, which is crossed by a pedestrian footbridge at one point.
4. Laurel Falls
The Laurel Falls Trail is perhaps one of the most-visited in the national park! The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles and it takes about 2 hours to hike there and back. The 80-foot waterfall is worth every step though! It consists of an upper and a lower section and is divided by a walkway where you can take it all in. The trail is paved, making it easier to hike, but it’s also somewhat rough and uneven, making it unsuitable for wheelchairs or strollers.
5. Alum Cave Trail
The Alum Cave Trail will take you 2.5 miles one-way to the Alum Cave Bluffs. One of the highlights of this hike is the Arch Rock, which you will pass through on your way. However, you may want to stop for a picture or two! When you reach the 2-mile mark, you’ll come to Inspiration Point where you’ll have an unparalleled view of the valley and surrounding mountains. You should arrive at the bluffs shortly afterward, and you can either continue on to the summit of Mount LeConte or head back the way you came.
Now that you know all about where to go for the best Smoky Mountain hikes, you can start planning your trip! Check out our rooms and suites and find the one that works best for you. We look forward to seeing you and your family at Quality Inn Creekside!