Easy Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
Whether your goal is to escape alone for a moments of solitude, to share a leisurely walk with a significant other, or to give your family a firsthand experience with the wonders of nature, you’ll find the Smoky Mountain area provides a number of trail options designed for those who enjoy hiking but aren’t necessarily looking for strenuous exercise. For your convenience, we’ve compiled 9 easy hiking trails to walk in the Smokies.
1. Metcalf Bottoms Trail
This level trail is only 0.7 miles by itself, but can be made longer by continuing from Metcalf Bottoms to Little Brier Gap Trail. Just minutes into the walk, trail hikers will see a small log school house. Anyone can explore inside, where the school still has original elements, including desks.
2. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is a 0.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. This is a handicap and stroller accessible trail, so anyone can enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. Before taking a stroll on the trail, hikers can watch a short film about the park and view natural history exhibits.
3. Andrews Bald
Only 1.7 miles total, trail’s maximum elevation is 900 feet. Though the Andrews Bald trail includes rocks and small boulders, there are several acres of grassy meadows at the top, where trails in the Smokies get the “Bald” name. These meadows are wide open, giving hikers plenty of space to picnic or lay down a blanket and relax.
4. Porters Creek Trail
Hikers who want history and beauty in an easy hike will love the Porters Creek Trail. Totaling at 4.0 miles, this trail is one of the best places to see wildflowers in spring. Nearly a mile into the hike sits remnants of a farmstead, including cabins and barns that are still standing. Further in is Fern Branch Falls, a nearly 40 foot waterfall.
5. Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is a nature walk through the woods. The hike is only 1.9 miles one-way from Sugarlands Visitor Center. It runs through the forest along the Little Pigeon River, so you will see views of the water as well as foundations of several old homesites along the way.
The Gatlinburg Trail is the only pet friendly trail on the Gatlinburg side of the national park, and is only one of two pet friendly trails in the entire park.
6. Kephart Prong Trail
The Kephart Prong trail is great for kids! Kids can explore the Smoky Mountains on this trail. There’s remnants of the logging era and the Civilian Conservation Corps. The hike is 4 miles round trip and you can expect to see wildlife, like salamanders along the stream. During the spring months, there’s lots of wildflowers and plant life along the trail.
7. Elkmont Nature Trail
The Elkmont Nature Trail is the perfect easy hike in the Great Smoky Mountains when you’re looking for a short, easy hike for a family. It’s a self-guided nature trail that is a little less than a mile long. This trail is great for learning about the Elkmont area and its rich history.
8. Abrams Falls
Even though the Abrams Falls waterfall is only 20 feet tall, the amount of rushing water over the waterfall is what makes it so popular. You can use the Abrams Falls access trail in Cades Cove to reach the 5 mile round trip hike.
Due to the length of the hike (it takes about 3-4 hours to finish the trail), many may consider this trail moderate in difficulty.
9. Grotto Falls
To get to Grotto Falls, you will take the Trillium Gap Road on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It’s a 2.6 mile roundtrip hike and takes about 2-3 hours to hike to the waterfall and back. The Grotto Falls waterfall is a 25 foot waterfall and, in the area, you’ll see lots of salamanders!