Just 5 minutes from Eagles Ridge Resort, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers more than 850 miles of well-marked, all-season hiking trails. Whether you’re an expert hiker or looking for something that’s kid friendly, there is a hiking trail for you. Choosing the perfect trail for your hike depends on what you want to see and how much time you have to see it! There is something beautiful during every season, from waterfalls and wildflowers in the spring, to snow-covered mountaintops in the winter.
Here are some of the most popular trails for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park:
Laurel Falls is rated as a fairly easy hike and is a popular choice for families. The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles, and it takes about 2 to 3 hours to complete. Laurel Falls is an 80-foot-high waterfall with both an upper and lower section that are divided by a walkway. The trail is paved, but the pavement is rough and uneven, so it is not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.
The Gatlinburg Trail is an easy and scenic hike in the Smoky Mountains. It travels 1.9 miles one-way from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg. The trail runs through the forest alongside the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, offering beautiful views of the river, as well as foundations and chimneys of old homesites. It it is one of only two walking paths in the national park that allows dogs. If you stay in one of our pet friendly cabins, you can bring your four-legged friend along for the hike!
To get to Grotto Falls, you’ll hike Trillium Gap Trail for a roundtrip distance of 2.6 miles. It is considered moderate in difficulty. Grotto Falls is a 25-foot-high waterfall. The trail takes you through an old-growth hemlock forest and runs behind the waterfall. The falls creates a cool, moist environment that feels great in the summer and is also an ideal spot for salamanders.
Rainbow Falls is a challenging hike, but the incredible views you’ll see along the way make every step worth it. Between the trailhead and the waterfall, the trail gains about 1,500 feet in elevation. The trip to the waterfall and back is 5.4 miles and takes about 3-5 hours to complete, but you can continue along the trail for 4 miles to reach the summit of Mount Leconte.
The Alum Cave Trail takes you to the Alum Cave Bluffs, offering gorgeous sights along the way. The roundtrip distance to the bluffs is 4.4 miles and considered moderate in difficulty. Along the way, you’ll pass Inspiration Point, which is a heath bald that offers breathtaking views. The Alum Cave Bluffs is about 80 feet in height and 500 feet in length. During the warmer months, water drips off the ledges from above, and during the colder months, the water turns into icicles.
Gregory Bald is a more difficult hike, so if you’re looking for a challenging trail for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this is the one for you. The hike is 11.6 miles out and back and has a total elevation gain of 3,020 feet. Gregory Bald is an area of flat, meadow land that is located near a mountain ridge. During the spring and summer, you’ll have incredible sights of wildflowers.
Ramsey Cascades is another more challenging hike in the Smoky Mountains. Over the 4-mile course to the waterfall, the trail gains more than 2,000 feet in elevation. You’ll pass by rivers and streams and through an old-growth cove hardwood forest before reaching the 100-foot-high waterfall. It takes about 5 to 7 hours to complete this hike.
Porters Creek Trail is a 4-mile hike to the waterfall and back. It’s great for all skill levels. During the hike, you’ll see old building foundations, John Messer’s cantilevered barn, and the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin. After 2 miles, you’ll reach Fern Branch Falls. The 60-foot waterfall drops off the ridge on the left side of the trail. It’s great during all seasons, when the wildflowers bloom in the spring and when there’s snow on the ground during winter.
There are plenty of opportunities for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you’ll love being just minutes away from all the fun when you stay in our Pigeon Forge cabins.