January 14, 2022
When you visit the Great Smoky Mountains, you will definitely want to spend some time in the national park! You have a variety of ways to explore the beauty of the area, but one of the most popular is going hiking. If you’ve never been hiking before, don’t worry; there are plenty of beginner trails that are perfect to start out on! Check out these 6 best hikes in the Smoky Mountains for beginners:
One of the most popular beginner hikes in the Smokies is Laurel Falls. The trail is easier to manage for people just starting out because it is paved, so you won’t have to worry about navigating around tree roots and rocks. The roundtrip length is 2.3 miles, making it a fairly short hike, even though it can be steep during certain portions. The highlight of the trail is the 80-foot-tall waterfall at the end!
If you plan on spending any time in Cades Cove and want to get out and explore, then you should hike to Abrams Falls. This trail is 5 miles roundtrip, and you’ll make your way through old forest growth. You might even see wildlife along the hike! As you near the end of the hike, you’ll come up on the river and eventually see Abrams Falls, a 20-foot-tall waterfall with an impressive amount of water gushing over the edge of the falls!
The Gatlinburg Trail is another one of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains for beginners. The path is relatively flat, and it is 3.8 miles roundtrip. You’ll pass over the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River on a footbridge, and enjoy walking through the dense forest, seeing old remains of homesteads along the way. This hiking trail is also one of the only dog friendly trails in the national park.
During the spring, Porters Creek Trail is one of the most beautiful hikes you can go on because of the wildflowers that crop up. It is still a beautiful trail any time of the year, and it’s perfect if you’re just starting to hike. The roundtrip length of this trail is 4 miles, and you’ll pass by old cabins and a cemetery. Plus, near the end of the trail, you might just see Fern Branch Falls!
A shorter, easier trail than the rest on this list is Cataract Falls Trail. It truly is one of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains for beginners because it is 1.1 miles roundtrip, and there’s hardly any elevation gain at all. This is also a great trail for kids because you’re close to the creek, there are uniquely shaped trees along the path, and there’s a small waterfall at the end of the hike!
Clingmans Dome Trail is a great trail for beginners since it is 1 mile roundtrip, and the path is paved. The trail is pretty steep, but once you reach the top of the observation tower, you’ll see why so many people love hiking this trail! On a clear day, you can see up to 100 miles away, and the mountain views at the top of the trail are breathtaking.
Now you know about some of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains for beginners! Are you trying to decide what else you want to do when you are staying with us? Check out our Freedom Fun Pass to see which area attractions you’ll get free tickets to!