Because the Gatlinburg area is filled with natural beauty including wildlife, scenic woodlands, tumbling cascades and impressive mountains, hiking trails near Gatlinburg TN is one of the most popular outdoor activities for many visitors. Below are some of the best hiking trails near Gatlinburg TN.
Alum Cave Bluffs Trail
Accessible year-round, the Alum Cave Bluffs Trail is one of the most popular trails in the Gatlinburg area. This 4.4 roundtrip trail features abundant rhododendron blooms in summer, impressive views and several interesting rock formations referred to as Arch Rock, Inspiration Point and the Eye of the Needle. The hike begins fairly easy but intensifies somewhat when the trail narrows around massive cliff drop-offs. To get there, drive 8.7 miles south from Sugarlands Visitor Center on the Newfound Gap Road to the trailhead for Alum Cave.
Chimney Tops Trail
It may be one of the steepest of Gatlinburg trails, but the breathtaking views at the summit of Chimney Tops make it totally worthwhile. This 4-mile roundtrip trail begins moderately but then becomes strenuous the last mile as it climbs more than 830 feet to the bare rocky top. Along the way, hikers can enjoy the peaceful beauty of trickling streams, lush woodlands, wildflowers and bridges that cross over powerful rapids. The Chimney Tops Trailhead is located on Newfound Gap Road 6.9 miles south of Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg.
Grotto Falls Trail
An easy 2.6 roundtrip trail, the Grotto Falls Trail is perfect for beginners and makes an excellent family hike. What makes this trail so special is the 25-foot waterfall where hikers can walk behind and enjoy a cool, refreshing retreat. There is also a small natural pool that the waterfall plunges into that visitors can swim in as well. Along the trail, hikers can enjoy fabulous photo opportunities as they view tumbling cascades and a wide variety of summer wildflowers. This trailhead can be reached just minutes from Gatlinburg by taking the Cherokee Orchard Road roughly three miles to Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
Abrams Falls Trail
Located within the popular Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Abrams Falls Trail is a 5-mile roundtrip hike easy for all ages. The trail runs parallel to Abrams Creek and offers beautiful scenes of hemlock, rhododendron and pine forests as well as glimpses of wildlife such as deer, bears and wild turkeys. The trail features a 20-foot waterfall with the most abundant rushing water in the national park. The trail is located between the 10 and 11 stop numbers on the Loop. After crossing Abrams Creek, visitors can turn right onto a gravel road that leads into a grassy field. At the back of the field is a parking lot and a wooden bridge marking the trailhead.
Laurel Falls Trail
Named for the lovely mountain laurels that bloom in May, the Laurel Falls Trail is just a 2.6 mile walk but leads to one of the most photographed sites in the Great Smokey Mountain National Park, the 80-foot cascading Laurel Falls. This trail is paved, making it easy for all ages and skill levels as well as strollers and wheelchairs. Visitors can reach the trailhead by driving 3.8 miles from Sugarlands Visitor Center to the summit of Fighting Creek Gap where they will find the parking lot on the right side.