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10 of the Best Hikes in the Smoky Mountains

DATE : February 25, 2020

Clingmans Dome Road

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park in America. Take one scenic drive through the park and you will easily see why so many people are drawn to the area. However, to truly experience the charm and beauty of the mountains you must take a walk among the trees. We have put together 10 of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains to get you started on your own adventures in our little corner of Appalachia!

Gatlinburg Trail

Gatlinburg Trail in the Smoky MountainsGuests that are looking for an easy hike will enjoy exploring the Gatlinburg Trail located in downtown Gatlinburg and just down the road from our hotel. Though the trail is a great first time hiking experience it’s still filled with plenty of beauty, history and river access. It’s also an excellent spot for a morning hike and then a stroll into downtown Gatlinburg for lunch at Old Dad’s General Store, the Park Grill or a hearty brunch at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp!

Little Brier Gap to the Walker Sisters Place

Exploring the Little Brier Gap Trail near the Metcalf Bottoms Picnic area is a wonderful adventure for hikers of all ages and especially families! You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the peacefulness of a mountain hike but also the chance to learn about the Little Greenbrier School. You can take the trail to the Walker Sisters Place as well and witness firsthand the home of some of the park’s most famous former residents.

Porters Creek Trail

Fern Branch FallsPorters Creek Trail is located in the Greenbrier section of the Smokies and is filled with history, flora, fauna and opportunities to connect with nature. Park visitors enjoy the trail in the spring months due to the abundance of wildflowers but it’s a great hike year-round! Take time to check out the old farmstead and the historical Smoky Mountain Hiking Club cabin or hike up to Fern Branch Falls. Regardless of which destination you choose, a hike on Porters Creek is always a great day in the woods!

Clingmans Dome and Andrews Bald

Views, views and more views. That’s what you can expect to find by taking a hike up to the top of the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower and then out to Andrews Bald! It’s an incredible hike that truly gives you a well-rounded Smokies experience. For a really beautiful hike and to dodge the crowd, catch sunrise from the top and then head out to Andrews Bald!

Tips: Be sure to check the weather forecast for Clingmans Dome due to the weather at the higher elevations often being much different than what you’ll be experiencing in downtown Gatlinburg. You’ll also want to check info on road closures as well for Clingmans Dome Road.

Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls along trillium Gap TrailTucked away just outside of downtown Gatlinburg is the Roaring Fork section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In this lush and gorgeous portion of the Smokies are some of the best waterfalls in the park! One of the most unique destinations is Grotto Falls. Located on the Trillium Gap Trail, Grotto is the only waterfall in the park where the trail actually takes you behind the waterfall. It’s also the trail that the LeConte Lodge Llamas use to deliver supplies to the top of Mount LeConte. If you’re lucky enough to spot them on the trail, step aside to let them pass and enjoy the experience!

Chimney Tops Trail

The Chimney Tops Trail has been a favorite among park visitors for decades and will continue to be for many years to come. Even though the upper portion of the trail is closed, the trail is completely filled with natural features that create an outstanding experience for hikers. You’ll find stunning streams and cascades, towering trees, and views. During the warmer months the trail offers up a wide range of wildflowers, fungi, salamanders and beautiful rhododendron and mountain laurel blooms!

The Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion

charlie's bunionWithin America’s most visited national park is also a section of the country’s most loved footpath as well. The Appalachian Trail is one of the most magical trails that you will ever experience in the Smoky Mountains. Taking the AT from Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion is also one of the top places to take in views. The 8-mile round-trip hike is a bucket list destination and one that you’ll want to repeat time after time!

Ramsey Cascades Trail

You’ll find a waterfall around every corner of the Smoky Mountains but few are as breathtaking as Ramsey Cascades. Both the hike and the waterfall will take your breath away but the trek is worth every step! It’s certainly one of the finest picnic spots in the park as well! Just remember to leave no trace and enjoy your hike!

Mount LeConte

view of mount leconte from alum cave trailWith 5 different routes to choose from a hike to Mount LeConte is one that can be tailored to meet your needs and interests. You won’t find an easy way to the top, but you will find some of the best gems in the Smoky Mountains on your trip to the summit! If you’re visiting during the warmer months you can also grab a snack at the LeConte Lodge, refill your water and explore one of the most historical mountain spots in Tennessee!

Rocky Top

Experienced hikers will enjoy a hike to Rocky Top as well as the solitude that can often be found along the way. With a taste of the Appalachian Trail, historical stops and excellent views this is one hike that will provide memories that will last a lifetime. Hike up during the month of June for a phenomenal display of mountain laurel and other beautiful blooms of the Smokies!

outside of bearskin lodge hotel in gatlinburgIf you’re heading to the Smoky Mountains to hike this year, start things off right with booking a stay with us! Our downtown Gatlinburg hotel is in the perfect location for accessing many areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and time in one of Our Guest Rooms will assure that you’re well rested and ready to hit the trail! Enjoy a complimentary breakfast daily, free parking, our outdoor pool and many other amenities in between your hikes. You can also take time to explore the shops, attractions and dining spots that are within walking distance from our hotel. Click Here to book a stay at our Bearskin Lodge by the River and begin planning your adventures!

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