cataract falls in the smoky mountains

6 Easy Smoky Mountain Hikes You Can’t Miss

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is visited by millions of people every year. They want to get out in nature and explore while enjoying the beauty the park has to offer. The best way to do that is hike, but not everyone is able to head out on moderate or difficult trails. That’s why we’ve put together a list of easy Smoky Mountain hikes virtually anyone can enjoy! Here are some of the easiest hikes you don’t want to miss:

1. Gatlinburg Trail

gatlinburg trailOne of the longest but still easy trails you will want to explore is the Gatlinburg Trail! With a round trip length of 3.8 miles, this hike is great when you want to spend a little longer exploring the Smokies. You’ll cross over the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, and you can even step off the trail to see little creatures swimming in the water! As you continue along the path, you might see a furry friend or two since Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only dog friendly trails in the park. As you continue on, you’ll also see old chimneys from the pioneer days and other homestead remnants. This trail is also right outside of downtown Gatlinburg, making it one of the easiest to get to!

2. Cataract Falls Trail

If you’re on the hunt for a Smoky Mountain hike that’s accessible to strollers and wheelchairs, Cataract Falls Trail is a great option. They have an ADA route that is paved so anyone can enjoy the great outdoors! Everyone else can travel along the regular path past creeks, native foliage, and knotted trees with holes! At the end of the trail, you’ll come up on a 25 foot tall waterfall called Cataract Falls!

3. Elkmont Nature Trail

elkmont nature trail

A nature trail that’s perfect for young kids or elderly adults is Elkmont Nature Trail. It’s only 0.8 of a mile long, and you’ll pass by a creek where water rushes over the rocks. As you peer into the water, you might see fish, bugs, and salamanders! This wooded hike is full of the natural beauty that the national park has to offer!

4. Little River Trail

Another Smoky Mountain hike that’s longer but still easy is Little River Trail. It is about 5 miles roundtrip, and the first part of the trail follows along the Little River. You’ll also see old vacation cottages from days past, as well as Huskey Branch Falls about 2 miles in. This is also a great trail to hike in the spring due to all the wildflowers!

5. Porters Creek Trail

porters creek trailPorters Creek Trail is a fantastic easy trail for the whole family! With a 4 mile round trip length, this trail is great for an all-morning event or an afternoon affair! In the spring, the path is surrounded by wildflowers, which makes it super popular during this time of the year. You’ll see stone walls along the trail before you come up on a cemetery, and about 1 mile past this point, you’ll see the John Messer farm site. As you continue, you’ll find Fern Branch Falls, a 60-foot tall waterfall!

6. Metcalf Bottoms Trail

If you happen to be going on a picnic in the Great Smoky Mountains at Metcalf Bottoms, then you’ll want to make time to explore Metcalf Bottoms Trail! This short trail is 1.5 miles round trip, and you’ll hike alongside the river and even cross creeks! At the end of the trail, you will see the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse and cemetery.

Can’t get enough hiking on your trip? Check out these popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains!

These Smoky Mountain hikes are the perfect way for anyone to enjoy nature, history, and being together as a family. We know you will want to spend time in town as well, but do you know what you will do? As our guest, you will receive access to our Smoky Mountain Adventure Pass, which provides you with free attraction tickets as a thank you for staying with us. Look at the attractions you can enjoy for even more ideas of what to do while you’re here!