A Guide to the Best Hiking Trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Jessica DeLucia Gatlinburg, Guides & Tips

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You’ve come here for a reason: you’re ready to lace up those hiking boots! National Parks have no doubt become a popular destination for those looking to travel amid a time of social distancing and extra precautions. As one of America’s most visited national parks with over 800 miles of trails, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a rich taste of nature’s simplicity - old-growth forests, waterfalls, crystal clear streams, wildlife and the most incredible views. So what do you say? Let’s go take a hike:

Andrews Bald
(Moderate/3.5 miles)
Trail Features: Open, Scenic Views Elevation: 899 feet gained

At Andrews Bald you’ll find acres of open grassy meadow leading you to magnificent landscapes of the southern Smokies. This is a great trail for some family-friendly exploration.

Porters Creek
(Moderate/4 miles)
Trail Features: Waterfall, Stream Elevation: 699 feet gained

Another great adventure for the family! Porters Creek showcases everything you’d enjoy strolling by on your hike - a cascading stream, deep forestry, and a waterfall! If you pay close attention you’ll also find many remnants of early settlers in the area.

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Alum Cave
(Moderate/4.4 miles)
Trail Features: Geological History Elevation: 1,125 feet gained

A good place to view the rugged valley below while immersing yourself in the outlook of surrounding mountains, Alum Cave is the trail to snap some of the most extraordinary photos - all while nestled in a cave.

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The Jump-Off
(Moderate/6.5 miles)
Trail Features: Panoramic Views Elevation: 1,275 feet gained

There’s a reason why this trail got its name, as The Jump-Off sits atop a 1,000-foot cliff on the northeastern side of Mt. Kephart providing views of high altitude. But before you get there, expect to see plenty of stunning terrain, rock formations, and wildflowers.

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Abrams Falls
(Moderate/5.2 miles)
Trail Features: Waterfalls Elevation: 675 feet gained

Here you’ll find one of the most popular waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Though Abrams Falls only sits 20 feet high, it happens to be the most voluminous waterfall in the park, creating that picture-perfect sight you’ve been hiking for.

Gregory Bald
(Strenuous/11.3 miles)
Trail Features: Panoramic Views, Flowers Elevation: 3,020 feet gained

Gregory Bald is no doubt a year-round destination with the most magnificent views, but if you’re looking for an extra pop of color, visiting mid to late June is where you’ll find flame azaleas blooming on its summit. Be prepared to experience colors of fire red, orange, yellow, white, pink, and multi-colored azaleas.

Mount LeConte
(Strenuous/11 miles)
Trail Features: Panoramic Views, Geological History Elevation: 2,763 feet gained

Get ready to gain elevation at a quick pace! Mount LeConte is recommended via Alum Cave Trail, as it’s not only the shortest route - and yet steepest - but also in combination with incredible scenery and high adventure (as its the third highest peak in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park).

Mt. Cammerer
(Strenuous/11.1 miles)
Trail Features: Panoramic Views Elevation: 3,045 feet gained

What a treat! Mt. Cammerer is not only considered as one of the best views in the Smoky Mountains, but your journey ends with the best vantage point: a stone fire-tower.

Rocky Top
(Strenuous/13.9 miles)
Trail Features: Panoramic Views Elevation: 3,665 feet gained

A difficult trail, but certainly worth the challenge for you hiking enthusiasts. It’s at Rocky Top Trail where you’ll experience 360-degree mountain panorama at a peak elevation!

Charlies Bunion
(Strenuous/8.1 miles)
Trail Features: Panoramic Views Elevation: 1,640 feet gained

As you venture along the Appalachian Trail, it’s on this hike where you’ll travel to truly staggering views. What’s really cool? Charlies Bunion offers one of the rockiest, spiniest strips of trail - an adventure in itself!

Remember this - hike at your own pace, have fun, and enjoy what the Great Smoky Mountains have to offer. And don’t forget to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! To add to your adventures, we’re here to provide some of the best accommodations and amenities you’ll find in Tennessee. It’s only at this Smoky Mountain Resort in Gatlinburg, TN that you’ll find even more hiking trails, along with three heated outdoor pools (seasonal), the world-class Serenity Spa by Westgate and even a year-round, indoor/outdoor water park – Wild Bear Falls!