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bridge on the gatlinburg trail

4 of the Easiest Hikes in the Smoky Mountains for Families

Are you looking for an easy way to enjoy nature with your family? When you want to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg Parkways, take a hike and experience the peace and tranquility of the Great Smoky Mountains. Here’s our list of the easiest hikes in the Smoky Mountains for families:

1. Fighting Creek Nature Trail

Fighting Creek Nature Trail is a short loop, a little over a mile long, near Sugarlands Visitor Center, which is just a few minutes drive from Gatlinburg. Brochures are available at the trailhead and provide insight along this self-guided trail into what you’ll see along the way. From massive trees and a gentle stream to an old stonewall, it’s a great trail to enjoy a leisurely stroll with the kids. The highlight of this trail is the John Ownby cabin, where you can imagine what it must have been like to live there in the late 1800s. 

2. Elkmont Nature Trail

elkmont troll bridgeOne of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains is the Elkmont Nature Trail. Walking the trail itself will take a half hour or less since it’s less than a mile long, but you can take your time exploring and admiring the canopy of trees and foliage. The kids will love walking across the small footbridge and looking for wildlife. Not only do you get to experience the beauty of nature on this trail, but you also get to explore the Elkmont ghost town and an eerie troll bridge!

3. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is another hike near the visitor center and is one of the only paved trails that’s truly accessible for everyone– stroller and wheelchair accessible! Benches are also available along the trail, so you can set your own pace and soak in the quiet and fresh mountain air. 

4. The Gatlinburg Trail

the gatlinburg trailOne of the only dog-friendly trails in the Smokies, the Gatlinburg Trail is also the only hiking trail you can access from downtown Gatlinburg! It actually has two trailheads, one just off River Road in Gatlinburg and the other from inside the national park at Sugarlands Visitor Center. With a roundtrip length of 3.8 miles, it’s a relatively flat gravel trail where you can see the remnants of an old homestead, walk along and eventually cross the Little Pigeon River, and catch a glimpse of birds, squirrels, and other animals! Also, it’s a great trail for a bike ride!

Smoky Mountain Hiking Tips: 

  • Pack more than enough water for the entire day. You’re better off carrying too much water than not having enough while you’re hiking.
  • Have plenty of energizing snacks packed for your hike since there’s nowhere to stop for food, or better yet, pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the many picnic spots throughout the park. 
  • Remember that the national park doesn’t have gas stations, so fill up before driving into the mountains, especially if you plan to drive a good distance through the park before or after your hike.

Now that you know about some of the easiest hikes in the Smoky Mountains, take a look at even more things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We hope your family will visit soon and experience the best vacation ever!