Laurel Falls is popular, thanks to the paved trail and a great view of the 80-foot-high waterfalls. Try this 2.4-mile, out-and-back hike on a weekday, because weekends can be busy. The trail is rich in native plants, especially the flowering laurel which gives the falls their name. Though the trail is paved, it’s not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.
Moderate Hiking Trails
Though the national park is laced with waterfalls, 25-foot Grotto Falls is the only one where you can walk behind the cascade. The 2.6-mile hike is a moderately difficult out and back trail starting at the Trillium Gap trailhead. This route bursts with blossoms in spring.
Rated moderately challenging, the four-mile trail is known for wildflowers, a historic farm, an old cemetery, and a 40-foot waterfall, Fern Branch Falls. The out and back Porter Creek trail runs through thick woods, providing refreshing shade in summer.
Difficult Hiking Trails
The payoff for this rugged, strenuous hike is the spectacular view all along the way. The 15-mile hike has a total elevation gain of 3,000 feet. Boulevard Trail starts at the Newfound Gap parking area and rises until you are walking on the ridge of the Smoky Mountains.
The gentle valley of Cades Cove is the starting point for this challenging 14-mile hike with an elevation gain of more than 3,600 feet. Rocky Top is one of three summits forming Thunderhead Mountain and boasts remarkable views. Continue past Rocky Top, or spend time at that summit and then head back.
After your hike, you’ll crave a relaxing place to lay your head. Choose a Smoky Mountains vacation cabin. Browse our rental cabin selections now.