6 of The Best Hiking Trails In Gatlinburg

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Are you looking for an adventure of epic proportions with some seriously breathtaking scenery? We’ve got the perfect spot: hiking trails in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!

Located in the heart of The Great Smoky Mountains, this quaint and vibrant mountain town is known for its hiking trails that traverse some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth in Gatlinburg. Whether tackling a high-altitude peak or a leisurely ramble through lush forests, there are hikes to suit every level of ability. It doesn’t matter what your experience or fitness level may be.

So, grab your pack, fill up those water bottles and prepare to explore. We’re about to take you on a journey into the beautiful wonder of hiking trails in Gatlinburg!

1- Rainbow Falls

Do you want to experience the beauty of a majestic waterfall? Then head over to Rainbow Falls! Located just outside Gatlinburg, this 5.4-mile trail takes hikers through the stunning Smoky Mountains National Park. 

Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls

This 80ft tall single-drop waterfall is sure to take your breath away. On a sunny day, the beauty of these majestic cascading falls is magnified as they create rainbows from their misty spray. It’s undoubtedly an incredible sight to behold!

The hike is challenging, so you’d be happy if your cabin is near the trailhead. Luckily, several Tennessee cabins are located close by. You must also bear in mind that you’ll have to make a steep descent on the way back, so come prepared with proper footwear.

2- Chimney Tops Trail

Enjoy an indescribable view at the end of an adventure! Chimney Tops Trail is only two miles long but takes you higher than a skyscraper. After being slightly scorched by wildfire in 2016, this trail was rebuilt with stronger infrastructure and now provides sweeping views from its peak atop 1,375 feet above sea level. These feet make it one of The Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s most beloved treks. 

If you’re brave enough to take on the final mile that ascends nearly 1000 feet, strap up for one of your most arduous hikes yet! Most hikers use around 3 hours to complete the entire trail. But given its steep incline, even three hours may not be enough. 

So, make sure to plan your hike for the morning and bring plenty of water!

3- Alum Cave Trail

Travel deep into The Great Smoky Mountains to Alum Cave Trail. This 2.2 miles hike takes around 5 hours and is touted as one of the most popular trails in the area – for a good reason! It offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, and you can also explore its fascinating geological formations like the Arch Rock and The Grand Caverns.

Alum Cave Trail
Alum Cave Trail

The trail culminates with a scenic view from the top of Mount LeConte at nearly 6,000 feet above sea level. So, if you’re feeling up for an adventure, this is the one to take!

When (and if) you complete the hike, you’ll reach the 500ft long and 80ft high Alum Cave. Make sure to take some snacks and plenty of water because this hike is no joke! When the temperatures are high, the spectacular views of water dripping from the ledges will make the trip especially worth it.

4- Cades Cove

Cades Cove, once a Cherokee settlement and later an epicenter for Tennessee’s abolitionist movement, is now one of the most popular attractions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This trail boasts gorgeous wildflowers & breathtaking mountain backdrops. 

It also features historical landmarks like restored churches, old grist mills & pioneer log cabins that have withstood the test of time! Hikers should take advantage of the 11-mile loop trail to experience the beauty of Cades Cove up close.

You can expect a leisurely hike with few inclines and plenty of wildlife-spotting opportunities. The trail is perfect for a day hike or even an overnight camping trip!

Biking through the loop is also an option, with several rental shops near the entrance. The best part? There’s a high chance you’ll spot some elk, bears, and foxes.

5- Clingmans Dome

This one’s not for the weak-hearted, wobbly-legged beginners! Clingmans Dome, the highest peak in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a welcome challenge for hikers who want to experience the majestic mountain range. It stands at 6,643 feet above sea level and is accessible via a half-mile paved trail that takes around an hour to complete.

Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome

The views of the woods and surrounding valleys are breathtaking, so don’t forget to bring your camera. Expect lots of switchbacks and steep ascents, but once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a stunning panorama of the Smoky Mountains. If you’re brave enough, try to hike all the way up; most dedicated hikers take around 4 hours to finish the entire trail.

Since there is some history attached to the trail, hikers should also take a few minutes to explore the informational panels and monuments along the way. It’s an experience you’ll cherish for a lifetime!

6- Laurels Falls Trails

An absolute family favorite, Laurels Falls Trails is a moderate, 2.6-mile hike that takes around 3 hours to complete. It’s the perfect trail for hikers who want a leisurely stroll through the woods. It’s so easy that even children can complete it with ease.

The hike takes you through a peaceful forest along Laurel Creek and finally to the gorgeous 75-foot-high waterfall. You can take a break and soak up the breathtaking views of Mount LeConte while you enjoy your picnic lunch.

As you approach the falls, you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the cascading waterfall and surrounding valley. The trail features lush green forests and an abundance of wildflowers. If you’re lucky, you might even spot some deer & elk! 

Final Thoughts

Hiking trails is one of the most enjoyable outdoor activities in Gatlinburg. With its stunning trails, beautiful waterfalls, and gorgeous mountain views, it’s no wonder so many people are drawn to this attractive area. Whether you’re a beginner looking for an easy hike or a veteran seeking a challenge, there is something here for everyone! So, lace up your shoes, grab your supplies, and prepare for an adventure of a lifetime!

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