Highly Recommended Places to Visit for a Half Day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Smoky Mountains covered in snow in the winterNo matter how much time you plan to spend in the Great Smoky Mountains, it’s hard to make enough time to see everything. Since we want you to see as much of the Smokies as possible, we have put together a suggested itinerary to help you plan a half day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you enjoy this post, make sure you let us know in the comments section below!

Get Started:

To start your day off right, stop in to Sugarlands Visitor Center. At the visitor center, your entire family or group can watch a free 20-minute video presentation about the Great Smoky Mountains. The

Sugarlands Visitor Center is located at 1420 Old State Highway 73 Scenic, in Gatlinburg.

Sugarlands Visitor Center Hours of Operation(See Also: 3 Fun Facts You Probably Don’t Know About the Smoky Mountain Area)

The Hike:

When you go hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you generally need to plan for a few hours of hiking. Here’s a couple of trails that can show you the beauty of the national park without taking your entire day.

1. Fighting Creek Nature Trail

If you don’t want to make an attempt at a tough hike, this is a great place to start. Fighting Creek Nature Trail offers a wonderful introduction to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hike starts at Sugarlands Visitor Center and is approximately 2 miles south of Gatlinburg, along Newfound Gap Road. To make the hike last longer, you can take Fighting Creek Nature Trail to the Cataract Falls trailhead and make the extra hike in that direction.

The Fighting Creek Nature Trail is approximately 1.1 miles long and will take about 45 minutes to complete.

Highlights of the trail:

  • Short, easy hike
  • Crosses streams
  • Features the John Ownby cabin

2. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

This trail is a paved walkway, so it’s an easy hike in the Great Smoky Mountains for families and groups who want to experience the majesty of the Smokies without the full-day hike. The self-guiding nature trail features exhibits along the path. You can even pick up a booklet about the area for less than a dollar at the trailhead. This hike doesn’t place your family into the ‘wilderness,’ but will give everyone a great hike in the mountains.

The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is a half mile loop that takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. In addition, this trail is great for wheelchairs and baby strollers. Make sure to slow down and enjoy the hike because the trail’s exhibits offer a lot of information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Highlights of the trail:

  • Short, easy hike
  • Exhibits along the trail
  • Paved trail, so everyone can enjoy the hike

Visit My Smokies is the only site you’ll need to plan your vacation to Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg. Take a look at Visit My Smokies’ page dedicated to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.


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