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bridge along the gatlinburg trail

Top 4 Smoky Mountains Hiking Trails for Seniors

If you’re a senior or are bringing a senior to the Smoky Mountains, you can still get out and explore the hiking trails too! There are plenty of easy options for Smoky Mountains hiking trails that people of all ages can do. You’ll be able to enjoy nature and a nice hike just like everyone else! Look at these top 4 Smoky Mountains hiking trails seniors can do:

1. Cataract Falls

cataract falls in the smoky mountain national parkIf you want to go on a hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains with a waterfall, you should try Cataract Falls. This out-and-back trail is 1.1 miles roundtrip, making it perfect for people who want a short walk through the mountains! The path is clearly laid out, and there won’t be a ton of rocks and roots to step over. A good portion of the trail follows along a creek, so you’ll have a great view! You’ll see all kinds of unique trees, and you’ll even get to walk across bridges! Seeing Cataract Falls is exciting, especially after it rains since there is more water flow. This trail is close to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, which includes a bathroom and a museum where you can learn even more about the Great Smoky Mountains!

2. Elkmont Nature Trail

If you enjoy bird watching or making your way leisurely along nature trails, then Elkmont Nature Trail is a Smoky Mountains hiking trail you have to try! This looped trail is 0.8 of a mile long, which is perfect for seniors who want to get out and walk without having a strenuous hike. In the spring, you’ll see all kinds of wildflowers, and Elkmont Nature Trail is a great place to see the colors of fall. You will be able to cross footbridges and walk past creeks and rivers. Seniors will love exploring along the Elkmont Nature Trail!

3. Sugarland Valley Nature Trail

creek in the smoky mountainsAnother short trail that’s great for seniors near the Sugarland Visitor Center is the Sugarland Valley Nature Trail. This Smoky Mountains hiking trail goes in a loop and is 0.5 of a mile long. You’ll get to walk along a river, enjoying the view and the sound of the water rushing over rocks. The path is simple to walk since it is paved. You’ll enjoy walking across the bridges, and you’ll also see an old fireplace from a home that once stood in the woods. The Sugarland Valley Nature Trail is great for bird watching, and you’ll also enjoy seeing wildflowers in the spring and colorful leaves in the fall.

4. Gatlinburg Trail

The Gatlinburg Trail is the longest trail on this list, but it’s relatively easy for seniors. Even if you don’t walk the entire trail, any length is great! You’ll cross a long bridge to get to the other side of the Little Pigeon River, which is a great place to stop and enjoy listening to the water or watch kids play. Gatlinburg Trail is unique because it is one of the only Smoky Mountains hiking trails that allows dogs, so you might spot a couple along your hike! It is also unique because of all the history you’ll see as you hike. Farther along the path, you’ll see remains of old homesteads, from fireplaces to foundations. The Gatlinburg Trail is a great hike for seniors who want to go on a longer trail.

All of these Smoky Mountains hiking trails are great for seniors who want to get out and explore. Check out these other easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains for more ideas!