Over 11 million people visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year to enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. With 800+ miles of trails within the borders of the park, you’re guaranteed to find a hike that is perfect for your group. To help you make the most of your vacation, Auntie Belham’s Cabin Rentals is sharing the National Park Service’s list of the five most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains.
1. Appalachian Trail
As the nation’s longest marked footpath, the Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states! This iconic trail runs for 71 miles in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, stretching from Fontana Dam to Davenport Gap. At 6,625 feet tall, Clingmans Dome is the highest point along the whole Appalachian Trail. If you plan on hiking the entire Smoky Mountain section of the Appalachian Trail, you should schedule at least seven days to make the trek. Of course, you can always just pass through a few scenic spots along the trail if you’re looking for a shorter hike!
The hike to Abrams Falls is another one of the most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains. Located near Cades Cove, Abrams Falls is a gorgeous 20 ft. high waterfall with a beautiful pool at its base. The Abrams Falls Trail is 5.2 miles round trip (around 3 – 4 hours) and is considered moderate in difficulty. Please note that swimming at the base of the falls is prohibited and extremely dangerous.
3. Laurel Falls Trail
The Laurel Falls Trail is ideal for anyone looking for a relatively short hike with a big payoff. This paved trail is only 2.6 miles round trip and features one of the national park’s most impressive waterfalls, the 80 ft. tall Laurel Falls. The waterfall takes its name from the mountain laurel, a lovely evergreen shrub that you can see along the trail in May. The Laurel Falls Trail is considered moderate in difficulty. If you’re hiking with children, be sure to keep a close eye on your kids throughout the trail, as there are some steep drop-offs along the way.
4. Alum Cave Trail
Despite its misleading name, Alum Cave isn’t actually a cave, but rather a concave bluff. This cavern was mined by the Epsom Salts Manufacturing Company from 1838 – 1854, and during the Civil War, the Confederate Army used saltpeter from Alum Cave to make gunpowder. The round trip hike to Alum Cave is 4.4 miles and is considered moderate to challenging. Highlights of the Alum Cave Trail include hiking through the Arch Rock tunnel and taking in the breathtaking views from Inspiration Point.
Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the Smoky Mountains that hikers can walk behind. This lovely 25 ft. high waterfall is located along the Trillium Gap Trail. The round trip hike to the waterfall is 2.6 miles (around 2 – 3 hours) and is considered moderate in difficulty. If you hike the Trillium Gap Trail on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday morning, you may see a herd of llamas making their way through the trail! These llamas regularly bring supplies to the top of Mount LeConte, which is located about 5.6 miles past Grotto Falls on the Trillium Gap Trail.
When you stay with Auntie Belham’s Cabin Rentals, you will be near all of these wonderful trails in the Smoky Mountains. Our cabins come with your choice of superb amenities, including hot tubs, mountain views, game rooms, swimming pool access, and wireless internet. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 9 bedroom cabins, we are guaranteed to have the perfect property for your vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabin rentals in the Smoky Mountains!