The Smoky Mountains are home to hundreds of scenic hiking trails for all skill levels, including plenty that the entire family can enjoy together! This is the perfect way to experience the great outdoors and soak in the incredible atmosphere of the Smokies! Along the way, you may get to discover some beautiful wildflowers, stumble upon a few historical buildings and maybe even see a black bear! Here are the top 4 family-friendly hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is a perfect hiking option for families because the trail is relatively flat and features a little bit of everything you might want to see in the Smokies! The trail departs from the outskirts of downtown Gatlinburg and travels 1.9 miles to the Sugarlands Visitor Center, where you can pick up plenty of excellent information about the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The Gatlinburg Trail travels through the forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, so you can enjoy gorgeous river views during your stroll. You’ll also have the chance to see the foundations and chimneys of several old homesites that are visible along the trail!
2. Porters Creek Trail
Another one of the best family friendly hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains is the Porters Creek Trail, which is located in the Greenbrier Cove about 6 miles east of Gatlinburg. This 2 mile round trip trail leads to Porters Flat, which offers a nice introduction to the natural communities within the cove hardwood forest. There are also historical remnants of the people who lived in the area before the park was established, including a cantilevered barn, springhouse and cabin! The spring months are an especially good time to hike along the Porters Creek Trail because of the spectacular wildflowers that bloom in this area!
3. Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail
The Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail is one of the best family hikes in the Smoky Mountains, as it is just under a mile long and offers an easy self-guided interpretive loop. You can pick up a brochure at the trailhead, which serves as a guide to explain all of the natural highlights that you’ll encounter on your stroll! Some of the highlights within this stunning old-growth Southern Appalachian cove forest include big tulip-trees, yellow birches, basswoods and eastern hemlocks. The Cove Hardwoods Nature Trail can be accessed via the Chimney Tops Picnic Area along Newfound Gap Road.
4. Laurel Falls Trail
If your family wants to see a waterfall during your Smoky Mountain vacation, Laurel Falls Trail is an excellent choice! The roundtrip distance to Laurel Falls is 2.6 miles and most visitors allow about 2 hours to travel to the waterfall and back. While the trail is paved at the trailhead, it does feature a few steep sections where you’ll want to hold the hands of younger children. The moderately difficult trail offers a bit of a healthy workout, but you’ll find that it’s well worth the effort once you see the 80 foot high Laurel Falls! The trailhead for this hike is situated 3.5 miles off of Little River Road, and it is recommended that you arrive early to get a parking spot for this popular destination!
Check out all of our cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge today to stay close to these wonderful hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains! We look forward to welcoming your family to the Smokies!