laurel falls in the smoky mountains
June 12, 2021

One of the best outdoor activities to do in the Smoky Mountains is go for a hike. You’ll have the chance to see gorgeous cascading waterfalls, wildflowers, and even wildlife! When you stay at Eagles Ridge Resort, you’ll be just 5 miles away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is home to more than 850 hiking trails! To help you decide what trail to explore while you’re here, we’ve come up with the top 5 trails near Pigeon Forge for hiking in the summer:

1. Porters Creek Trail

porters creek trail in the smoky mountains

Porters Creek Trail is a popular spring hike in the Smoky Mountains because of the beautiful waterfalls, and it’s also a great trail near Pigeon Forge for hiking during the summer! The trail runs through a wooded area, which provides a nice relief from the hot summer sun. You’ll get to see parts of history like an old cemetery and a historic farm site, and you’ll even have the chance to see a waterfall! Fern Branch Falls is located about 2 miles into the hike. The 60-foot waterfall drops off the ridge on the left side of the trail. It’s the perfect mix of history and nature!

2. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is a gorgeous, 80-foot-tall waterfall. The hike to the waterfall and back is only 2.6 miles, so you won’t have far to go to enjoy the stunning sight. And the best part is that Laurel Falls Trail is only about a 30-minute drive from our resort! Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll notice it has both an upper and lower section, divided by a walkway that crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Smokies, so keep in mind that parking at the trailhead will be limited in the summer!

3. Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls is another waterfall hike in the Smoky Mountains. To get to the falls, you’ll use Trillium Gap Trail for a roundtrip distance of 2.6 miles. This trail takes you through an old-growth hemlock forest. Grotto Falls is a great hike for families with kids, as you’ll mostly be traveling along a wide and well-worn path. What’s unique about the 25-foot-high Grotto Falls is that it’s actually the only waterfall you can walk behind! The cool, moist environment near the falls feels great during the summer, and it’s also a popular spot for salamanders to gather.

4. Ramsey Cascades Trail

You don’t want to miss the chance to see the tallest waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Though the roundtrip distance to the waterfall and back is 8 miles, the breathtaking sight of Ramsey Cascades makes it worth every step. Ramsey Cascades Trail gains more than 2,000 feet in elevation over the 4 miles you’ll hike to the waterfall. Along the way, you’ll follow rushing rivers and streams and pass through an old-growth cove hardwood forest with tiptrees, basswoods, silver bells and yellow birches! Keep in mind that the hike takes about 5-7 hours to complete, so you’ll want to leave early enough that you won’t be hiking back in the dark.

5. Alum Cave Trail

alum cave trail

Summer is a great time to hike to the Alum Cave Bluffs! The hike to the bluffs and back is 4.6 miles round trip and takes about 3 hours. If you only have time to hike one trail near Pigeon Forge, make it the Alum Cave Trail. It’s got everything, from scenic views to geological markers. About 1.5 miles into the hike, you’ll reach Arch Rock, a concentration of black slate that is one of the few natural arches in the park. You’ll also see Inspiration Point, which offers panoramic mountain views from an elevation of 4,700 feet. Finally, you’ll reach Alum Cave, which is not a cave but is a concaved bluff that towers about 80 feet high. It’s the perfect spot to take a break from the sweet sunshine and cool off.

Where to Stay

When you stay at Eagles Ridge Resort, you’ll be close to all of the best trails near Pigeon Forge for hiking! We have a variety of Pigeon Forge cabins available that range from 1 bedroom to 9 bedrooms. You’ll be able to enjoy amenities like outdoor hot tubs, fully equipped kitchens, and even game rooms and theater rooms in some of our cabins! After a day of exploring the Smoky Mountains, you’ll love returning to your cozy cabin for a good night’s rest. Check out all of our Pigeon Forge cabins to find the best one for you!

Find out more information about Pigeon Forge hiking, and start planning your summer vacation!