Hiking in the Smokies
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Rescue in the Wild
is a wonderful children's
novel about a trail
rescue in the Smoky
Mountains National Park.

The Great Smoky Mountains offers many great hiking trails. Below is a list of some of the best hiking trails in the Smokies with a description of each. The distance listed is round trip. A good water-proof, tear-resistent Trail Map is available with hiking and camping locations.

  Trail Name Description
Alum Cave Bluff
  • 11 miles
  • difficult
  • The trail starts off easy, but becomes difficult. For an easy hike, take the first mile and a half and then return. The full 5.5 mile hike is very steep at places. The trailhead is at the Alum Cave Bluffs parking area on Newfound Gap road.
    Andrews Bald
  • 3.6 miles
  • moderate
  • The Andrews Bald trailhead is at the Clingmans Dome parking area (be sure to visit Clingmans dome while you are there). Clingmans dome is the highest point in the park. Because of the elevation, temperatures can be 10-20 degrees cooler than the lower elevations. The view from the Bald is spectacular. A walking stick can be useful on the rough parts of the trail. The first part of the path tends to be wet, so consider waterproof boots.
    Clingmans Dome
  • .5 miles
  • easy
  • Clingmans Dome is the highest place in the Smokies. An observation tower at the top provides spectacular 360 degree views on clear days. The well maintained trail is wide and paved making it easy to push a stroller (although it is very steep). An alternate route, which bypasses to paved trail starts at the Andrews Bald trailhead.
    Chimney Tops
  • 4 miles
  • difficult
  • This is one of the most popular trails in the Smokies. It is best arrive early in the morning to beet the crowds. The view from the tops is magnificient. It is only 2 miles to the top, but it is a very steep 2 miles. The trailhead is on Newfound Gap road on the Tennessee side.
    Abrams Falls
  • 5 miles
  • easy
  • The path from Caves Cove to Abrams Falls is a relatively flat and wide trail following Abrams creek much of the way. The very popular trail is often crowded. It is a will maintained trail leading to the 20 foot waterfall.
    Copper Road
  • 11 miles
  • moderate
  • The Cooper Road trails starts at the back of the Abrams Creek campground. The mostly flat trail is usually not crowded.
    The Boogerman Trail Loop
  • 6.6 miles
  • moderate
  • This trail has several stream crossings and is often wet in places, so be prepared for your feet to get a little wet. The trailhead is just beyond the Cataloochee campground
    Little Cataloochee Trail
  • 5.2 miles
  • moderate
  • The Cataloochee Valley is a very scenic area that is usually not crowded. The trailhead is in the Cataloochee campground.
    Look Rock
  • 0.5 miles
  • easy
  • The easy half mile hike leads to an observation tower with spectacular 360 degree views of the mountains. The tower and the view is similar to Clingmans Dome, but much less crowded. There is also a nice picnic area.
    Rainbow Falls
  • 5.4 miles
  • moderate
  • Rainbow Falls is one of the highest falls in the Smokies and one of the most popular hikes. The falls are best viewed in the spring rainy season. The trail is well maintained with several split log bridges.
    Ramsay Cascades
  • 8 miles
  • difficult
  • Ramsay Cascades is the largest waterfall in the Smokies. Much of the trail runs by the creek with many wildflowers growing. The trailhead is located near Greenbrier
    Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
  • 3000 ft
  • very easy
  • The path was designed for people with disabilities. It is paved and fairly level making it easy for people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities. It is also good for children in strollers and older visitors.
    Mount LeConte
  • 10 miles
  • difficult
  • The only lodging inside the national park is on top of Mount LeConte. It may be the best place in the Smokies to view Sunrises and Sunsets. There are several trails that lead to Mount LeConte. The Alum Cave Bluff trail is the most popular.
    Cucumber Gap
  • 2.4 miles
  • easy
  • Cucumber Gap is an easy, well maintained trail with clear water pools and beautiful scenery. The wide, relative flat trail makes this a good trail for kids.
    Laurel Falls
  • 2.6 miles
  • easy
  • The short 1.3 mile hike to Laurel Falls is paved, making it easy for families with young children. The path is wide enough to easily push a stroller, although erosion has made the trail a little rough at spots. This is a very popular trail which is usually very crowded at peak times. The trailhead is located on Little River Road near the Sugarlands visitor center

    Recommended Reading

    100 Hikes in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the most informative books available about hiking in the Smokies. It gives detailed information about many of the hiking trails in the park.
    Trails Illustrated Map is an excellent map of the Smokies, showing roads, hiking trails, camping areas, picnic areas, ranger stations, and more. It is waterproof and tearproof, so it is very durable to take with you camping or hiking, even if it rains.
    Scavenger Hike Adventures: Great Smoky Mountains. This book is so much fun for families or groups to take on hikes. Readers follow clues to find over 200 hidden natural and historic treasures on as many as 14 easy, moderate, and extreme hikes easily accessible within the national park. It makes you slow down and notice things that you might otherwise miss.