Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit for any trip to the Smokies! Just a short drive from The Peddler, America’s most visited national park is filled with exciting things to do that highlight the incredible scenery and wildlife that make the Smokies such a desired getaway destination. There’s one activity sure to peak your interest: hiking! Here are 5 Smoky Mountain hiking trails to explore:
1. Alum Cave Trail
Stunning views and natural geological markers make Alum Cave Trail one of the most popular and beloved hikes in the Smoky Mountains! A little more than a mile into this roughly 5-mile round trip hike, you’ll reach Arch Rock, a giant formation of black slate that formed into a natural arch over time. At Inspiration Point, you’ll enjoy picturesque views from 4,700 feet above sea level! Finally, you’ll reach Alum Cave Bluffs that are more than 80 feet tall. This is the turnaround point of the hike but you can choose to keep going for a longer, more strenuous hike to Mt. LeConte if you wish.
2. Porters Creek Trail
Behold the beauty of Porters Creek Trail! This 4-mile round trip hike comes alive with color each spring as wildflowers set a spectacular scene that you won’t be able to get enough of! This Smoky Mountain hiking trail is an excellent option for families thanks to its moderate difficulty level and lower elevation. Pass through an old-growth forest, spot wildlife and historic sites, as well as come across Fern Branch Falls which can blow you away after heavy rains.
3. Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is one of only a pair of Smoky Mountain hiking trails in the national park that allow dogs! You can also bike this 3.8-mile round trip hike and it’s another trail that’s perfect for families. Choose to hike this trail from either the Sugarlands Visitor Center trailhead or the trailhead off of River Road. On your trip, you’ll pass by what’s left of an old homestead.
4. Clingmans Dome
The views from the highest point in the Smokies can’t be beaten! At 6,643 feet, the sunrises and sunsets from the Clingmans Dome observation tower will be etched in your memory forever. The entire trail is paved but the ramp to the tower is steep so make sure to take your time. Make sure you bring your camera to capture the 360-degree mountain views from Clingmans Dome!
5. Andrews Bald Trail
More spectacular views of the Smoky Mountains are waiting for you on the Andrews Bald Trail! Another favorite among Smoky Mountain hiking trails, Andrews Bald Trail begins at the Clingmans Dome parking lot and is about 3.5 miles round trip. Stone stairs line part of the trail, adding a unique touch to this route. Once you reach the balds, take a break, perhaps have a family picnic and admire the views!
You’re sure to work up an appetite after navigating one of these Smoky Mountain hiking trails! Stop by The Peddler afterwards for a delicious meal and a great time! Browse our menu to start thinking about what you’ll enjoy at our Gatlinburg restaurant!