gatlinburg trail bridge
February 21, 2023

Want to explore the Great Smoky Mountains but don’t want to travel too far from Gatlinburg? You’re in luck! There are several easy trails that are right outside of downtown Gatlinburg, which are perfect for beginners, young children, and anyone who isn’t able to take on moderate to difficult trails! Check out these 5 easy hikes near Gatlinburg TN you have to try:

1. Laurel Falls Trail

laurel falls in the great smoky mountains

One of the most popular hikes near Gatlinburg TN is Laurel Falls Trail. This trail is considered easy because the path is paved, preventing you from tripping over rocks and roots. While you will travel up the mountainside the entire trail, it’s only 2.3 miles roundtrip! As you make your way up, you’ll see wildflowers in the spring and summer, enjoy wooded views, and maybe even see some mountain views as you get closer to the top. At the end, you’ll see Laurel Falls, an 80-foot-tall, 2-tier waterfall that you can walk in front of and take pictures with!

2. Gatlinburg Trail

Another one of the hikes near Gatlinburg TN you won’t want to miss out on trying is the Gatlinburg Trail. It travels from downtown Gatlinburg to the Sugarlands Visitor Center This trail is the longest on our list at 3.8 miles, but the elevation gain is only 164 feet. The path isn’t paved, but it is clearly marked. This is also one of the only dog friendly trails in the national park, so you might spot a few furry friends along the way! You’ll pass over a river, walk through beautiful woods, and see old remnants of homes along the trail.

3. Cataract Falls Trail

cataract falls

If you’re looking for a really easy trail for young kids that also has a waterfall, Cataract Falls Trail is perfect! This trail is 1.1 miles round trip. You’ll get to cross over bridges, so the kids can look into the water to see all kinds of creatures. There are hollow trees on the way to the waterfall, making this a magical place for kids to really enjoy. Cataract Falls is beautiful any time, but it’s truly unique after it rains. Everyone will have just as much fun heading back as they did hiking to the falls!

4. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

Another simple trail you’ll want to explore is the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. This is an accessible trail because the entire thing is paved, so strollers and wheelchairs can easily maneuver it. The trailhead is at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and the path follows along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. It’s the perfect place to let little kids take in nature, explore the water, and just have fun!

5. Noah “Bud” Ogle Self-Guiding Trail

noah bud ogle cabin located on a hike near Gatlinburg TN

Another easy hike near Gatlinburg TN is the Noah “Bud” Ogle Self-Guiding Trail. This 0.7-mile loop trail is off of the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, a popular scenic drive in the national park. You can park and explore this route, and it takes about 16 minutes to complete. You’ll be able to explore cabins, a mill on the creek, and other historic buildings along the trail!

You won’t want to miss out on any of these hikes near Gatlinburg TN. Everyone will have fun exploring the national park, but what else will you do when you stay with us? Look through our Freedom Fun Pass to see which attractions you’ll receive free tickets to as a thank you for being our guest!