As you fill out your itinerary for your next trip to the Smokies, you are going to want to schedule some time to explore the great outdoors. The beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains can be discovered through many activities, including hiking! If you are bringing young children on the trip, it can be hard to find short trails that are easy for them to complete. Luckily, there are plenty of hikes in the Smokies that are suitable for guests of all ages. Here are 4 of the best Smoky Mountain hikes for families:
1. Kephart Prong Trail
If you want to learn about the history of the Smokies with your family, the Kephart Prong Trail is a great hiking option. It is only 4 miles roundtrip and is recommended for any children elementary age and up. Along the journey, you will come across all types of historical sites, including remnants of the Civilian Conservation Camps that were stationed in the Smokies from 1933 until 1942. You will also spot some evidence of a fish hatchery that was built in 1936. This trail is also a great opportunity for your children to see some of the wildlife that live in the Smoky Mountains, including salamanders hiding under the rocks near the stream.
2. Porters Creek Trail
Porters Creek Trail is another one of the Smoky Mountain hikes that are great for families. This trail covers right at 4 miles roundtrip, and only gains about 350 feet in elevation. The flat terrain and wide pathways makes it easy for children to conquer. Some of the things you will see along the journey include historic sites, wildflowers, and even a waterfall. Even though this is one of the shorter hikes in the mountains, it is filled with amazing wonders. To reach the trailhead, you will travel along highway 321 to the Greenbriar section of the national park. While this is a great hike during all times of the year, it is especially popular during the spring and summer months due to the blooming wildflowers along the pathway.
3. Laurel Falls
This Smoky Mountain hike allows your family to see one of the most amazing waterfalls in the Smokies. It is also a relatively short hike, at only 2.3 miles roundtrip. The entire trail is paved, making it easy for young children to walk alongside their parents to the falls. Laurel Falls itself is an 80 foot tall waterfall! The neatest thing about it is that it is separated into two sections by a foot bridge that crosses through the middle. The bridge is the perfect place for your family to pose for a photograph to show to your friends and family back home!
4. Gatlinburg Trail
If you are spending the day in Gatlinburg and want to find a short hike nearby, the Gatlinburg Trail is the perfect option! It is only 3.8 miles in length, and it begins right behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The trail follows right along the west prong of the Little Pigeon River, which is a beautiful sight to see! There are also some remnants of old homesteads near the end of the hike. If you are staying in one of our pet friendly cabins in the Smokies, you will be thrilled to know that the Gatlinburg Trail is one of just two dog friendly trails in the national park!
Now that you know about some of the best Smoky Mountain hikes for families, check out some of these other Smoky Mountain attractions for kids! We look forward to welcoming your family to the Smokies!