9 Easy Hikes in the Smoky Mountains to Add to Your Outdoor Bucket List

Friends hiking in the Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 square miles of hiking trails, so there really is a trail that’s perfect for every type of hiker.

Easy hikes are great for anyone visiting the Smoky Mountains! Whether you’re looking to hike with your children or you just want a Hiking boots and hiking backpack on a deckshort, relaxing hike in the mountains, an easy hike may be the best way to spend your day.

If you’re a beginner hiker or you’re looking for one of the easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains, this list will help you find the best hike for you. These are our top 10 easy hikes for an adventure in the Smokies:

1. Gatlinburg Trail

The Gatlinburg Trail is a nature walk through the woods. The hike is only 1.9 miles one-way from Sugarlands Visitor Center. It runs through the forest along the Little Pigeon River, so you will see views of the water as well as foundations of several old homesites along the way.

The Gatlinburg Trail is the only pet friendly trail on the Gatlinburg side of the national park, and is only one of two pet friendly trails in the entire park.

2. Kephart Prong Trail

The Kephart Prong trail is great for kids! Kids can explore the Smoky Mountains on this trail. There’s remnants of the logging era and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The hike is 4 miles round trip and you can expect to see wildlife, like salamanders along the stream. During the spring months, there’s lots of wildflowers and plant life along the trail.

Little River in the Elkmont area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park3. Elkmont Nature Trail

The Elkmont Nature Trail is the perfect easy hike in the Great Smoky Mountains when you’re looking for a short, easy hike for a family. It’s a self-guided nature trail that is a little less than a mile long. This trail is great for learning about the Elkmont area and its rich history.

4. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

The Sugarlands Nature Trail is a short, half-mile trail in the national park. It’s the only trail that is wheelchair accessible. You can find this trail about a half mile past Sugarlands Visitor Center, right on Newfound Gap Road. You’ll see remains of homes and a stream running alongside the trail.

5. Andrews Bald

This trail begins from the Clingmans Dome parking lot and drops elevation as you hike to Andrews Bald. You’re actually hiking the Forney Ridge Trail which is 1.8 miles one-way to Andrews Bald. If the time of year is right, you can find blackberries or raspberries along this trail.

6. Abrams FallsAbrams Falls in the Smoky Mountains

Even though the Abrams Falls waterfall is only 20 feet tall, the amount of rushing water over the waterfall is what makes it so popular. You can use the Abrams Falls access trail in Cades Cove to reach the 5 mile round trip hike.

Due to the length of the hike (it takes about 3-4 hours to finish the trail), many may consider this trail moderate in difficulty.

7. Porters Creek

This trail may be considered moderate by some, but it’s a beautiful trail! During the springtime, the Porters Creek trail blooms with wildflowers which makes it popular. The trail is 4 miles round trip (2 miles one way). This is also a great trail any time of year, even when the snow makes upper elevations a little difficult for hiking.

Stunning photo of Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.8. Laurel Falls

This is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We recommend this one for families and anyone who needs an easy hike in the Smoky Mountains because the trail is paved. Just keep in mind that the paved trail is somewhat rough and uneven, so it’s not great for strollers or wheelchairs. The hiking trail is 2.6 miles and will take about 2 hours to hike to the waterfall and back. The Laurel Falls waterfall is 80 feet high, but it’s important to remember that the trail gets very busy during the peak hiking months during the summertime.

9. Grotto Falls

To get to Grotto Falls, you will take the Trillium Gap Road on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It’s a 2.6 mile roundtrip hike and takes about 2-3 hours to hike to the waterfall and back. The Grotto Falls waterfall is a 25 foot waterfall and, in the area, you’ll see lots of salamanders!

For more information about easy hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains and other great things to do in the national park, click here to visit the National Park Service website.

What is your favorite hike in the Smoky Mountains? Tell us in the comments section below.

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  • Emily Metzger

    Is this a list that takes into account the areas that were burned in the wildfires last fall (2016)? So the hikes listed in this article are all unaffected by the fires?

    • Emily Wolff

      Hey Emily, you can still hike all of these. Many of the trails that were temporarily closed have been reopened. The current closures include: Chimney Tops, Road Prong Trail, a section of Sugarland Mountain Trail, Rough Creek Trail, Bull Head Trail and the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail. But be sure to check with the National Park Service closings since they update them almost daily >> https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/temproadclose.htm. Many of those specific trails could be reopened before you visit! 🙂

      • Emily Metzger

        Thanks!

  • lkfman

    The Little River Trail at Elkmont is truly a beautiful walk. A nice distance and pretty easy. my mother, who will be 82 in December, and I, walk this trail every year. If you want more distance and a little more difficulty, not much, you can take it to Cucumber Gap trail which brings you back to where you started.