Your 7 Favorite Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Grotto Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains
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With more than 850 miles of trails to explore, hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best ways to explore the area. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike or something more challenging, there is a trail for everyone! If you’re wondering what trail you should hike when you come to the Smoky Mountains, we can help. Check out this list of the top 7 hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that were voted on by visitors like you!

1. Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls is your favorite hike in the Smoky Mountains. This hike features a 25-foot waterfall that you can actually walk behind! To get to Grotto Falls, you’ll hike Trillium Gap Trail, which runs through an old-growth hemlock forest. You can often see salamanders around the falls, and the cooler environment at the falls makes it a fun hike for a warmer day.

Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time: 2-3 hours

2. Laurel Falls

Stunning photo of Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.Laurel Falls was voted the second favorite hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This trail is extremely popular among families because it’s paved and not too difficult. The star of this hike is the gorgeous 80-foot waterfall. It has both an upper and lower section, which is divided by a walkway at the base of the upper falls. Visitors love feeling like they’re walking across the waterfall!

Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time: 2-3 hours

3. Chimney Tops

Chimney Tops is an out-and-back trail near Gatlinburg that is most popular in March through November. You’ll travel through an old-growth forest that is home to the oldest yellow Buckeyes in the park and have stunning, panoramic mountain views. The trail gains 1,400 over the course of 2 miles and features rushing streams and a view of Mount LeConte. Because of the steep climb, it’s the perfect trail to hike if you’re looking for a challenge.

Distance: 4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Time: 4-5 hours

4. Alum Cave

Alum CaveThe hike to the Alum Cave Bluffs is one of the most popular because of its gorgeous views along the way. To get to Alum Cave, you’ll hike the Alum Cave Trail through an old-growth hardwood forest. Arch Rock is a highlight along the trail, as well as a rocky outcrop called Inspiration Point, where you can view the valley surrounded by mountains. The Alum Cave Bluffs are 2.3 miles from the trailhead. It’s about 80 feet in height. During the warmer months, water drips off the ledges above, and in the winter, the drops form icicles!

Distance: 4.6 miles roundtrip
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time: 3-4 hours

5. Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Even though it’s only 20 feet high, the volume of the water rushing over the falls makes up for its lack of height. It creates a deep pool at its base that adds to the stunning sight. Abrams Falls Trail runs through a pine-oak forest on the ridges, and a hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek.

Distance: 5 miles roundtrip
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time: 3-4 hours

6. Rainbow Falls

The Rainbow Falls Trail in the Smoky Mountains.Rainbow Falls is another one of your favorite hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Although the hike to the falls features a 1,500-foot elevation gain and rocky terrain on some parts, the view of the 80-foot waterfall is worth every step. Rainbow Falls gets its name from the rainbow that is produced by the mist that you can see on sunny afternoons. During a cold winter, you’ll be able to see an impressive ice formation around the falls.

Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Difficulty Level: Moderate/Difficult
Time: 3-5 hours

7. Andrews Bald

Andrews Bald is a great hike during any season! The trail begins at the Clingmans Dome parking lot and features a large descent to get to the bald. Then, the trail levels on a broad ridge before a final ascension through a forest leads you to Andrews Bald. You’ll experience an elevation change of 1,200 feet. Depending on the time of year, you can find patches of blackberries, raspberries, and wildflowers along the hike. Andrews Bald is so popular because of the panoramic views it offers of the Smoky Mountains.

Distance: 3.6 miles
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Time: 2-3 hours

More About the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

sunrise in the smoky mountain national parkNow you know the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that were voted on by visitors like you! We bet you can’t wait to start planning your trip to the Smokies to try at least one of these hiking trails. Before you go, learn more about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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