5 Most Popular Trails in the Smoky Mountains You Need to Hike
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 more than 800 miles of Smoky Mountain trails, you’re guaranteed to find a hike that is perfect for everyone. If you want to go on a hike, you should start with some of the most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains. You can see the forest, a waterfall, or other natural features on any of these trails. Here are the 5 most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains you need to hike:
1. Appalachian Trail
As the nation’s longest hiking trail, the Appalachian Trail passes through 14 states. This iconic trail runs for 71 miles through 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 wanting to go on a shorter hike!
2. Abrams Falls Trail
The hike to Abrams Falls is another one of the most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains. Located along the Cades Cove Loop, Abrams Falls is a gorgeous, 20-foot-tall waterfall. Although it’s not a tall waterfall, the amount of water that rushes over the side is what really impresses people. The Abrams Falls Trail is 5.2 miles round trip 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
Laurel Falls Trail is ideal for anyone looking for an easy hike with a beautiful waterfall at the end. This paved trail is only 2.6 miles round trip and is considered easy. This is one of the most popular Smoky Mountain trails and is great for the whole family because kids can easily climb it since the path is paved. Once you reach the top, you will see the two tiers of Laurel Falls. A footbridge separates the tiers, and you can walk across it and take pictures in front of the falls.
4. Alum Cave Trail
Alum Cave is 4.4 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate to challenging. This is one of the Smoky Mountain trails you can use to get to the summit of Mount LeConte. If you just want to hike to the bluff, you’ll still see a ton of cool geological features, such as Arch Rock. When you get to Alum Cave bluffs, you will be amazed by the size of the bluffs and the incredible mountain views.
5. Grotto Falls
Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the Smoky Mountains hikers can walk behind. The roundtrip hike to the waterfall is 2.6 miles and is considered moderate in difficulty. At the beginning of the trail, you will walk through old forest growth and alongside a mountain creek. Once you reach the falls, you’ll probably see quite a few people sitting on rocks and enjoying the 25-foot-tall waterfall.
More Popular Smoky Mountain Trails
We’ve told you about some of the most popular trails in the Smoky Mountains you should hike on your trip, but they aren’t the only fun trails in the park! There are hiking trails for every skill level, each offering something special for hikers. Whether you’re interested in views of mountains, waterfalls, or wildlife, there’s a trail for you! For more ideas of where you should hike while you’re in the area, take a look at these 5 Smoky Mountain trails you should conquer in your lifetime.