rainbow falls in the smoky mountains

Top 5 Hiking Trails in Gatlinburg You Have to Explore

September 10, 2019

While you’re staying in Gatlinburg, you should go hiking in the national park! The Smoky Mountains have over 850 miles of hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult. You can choose a trail that runs along a creek or that has a waterfall at the end. Check out these top 5 hiking trails in Gatlinburg you have to explore:

1. Gatlinburg Trail

gatlinburg trail bridgeAn easy hiking trail in Gatlinburg is the Gatlinburg Trail. This trail runs out and back for 3.8 miles roundtrip. The Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that allow dogs and horses. A good portion of the trail runs along the Little Pigeon River, creating a beautiful view as you hike. Eventually you’ll cross over the river on a footbridge. Near the end of the trail, you’ll see the remains of old cabins, such as rock fireplaces. This hiking trail in Gatlinburg shows the beauty of the forest in the Smokies!

2. Twin Creeks Trail

Looking for a trail that is good for all different kinds of athletic ability? Take your significant other, kids, or friends on Twin Creeks Trail. This 4.5-mile-roundtrip trail is an out and back hike. For a good portion of the trail, you’ll walk along the creek, hearing the water rushing over the rocks. During the spring and summer, you’ll see all kinds of green plants along the trail and wildflowers. Later in the fall, the leaves are changing to reds, yellows, and oranges. You will also see some old buildings, giving you an idea of what life was like back in the day.

3. Grotto Falls

grotto falls in the smoky mountainsSome of the most popular hiking trails in Gatlinburg have waterfalls at the end. Grotto Falls is one of the trails with a unique waterfall. It is considered moderate in difficulty and is 3 miles roundtrip. On your way to the falls, you’ll cross over small creeks. Once you’re at the falls, you’ll see water rushing over the falls, creating a 25-foot-tall stream. Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park people can easily walk behind. If you decide to walk behind the falls, know that algae and mist make the rocks slippery, and you should be extremely cautious. If you look in the pool of water, you might just see salamanders and all kinds of fish.

4. Rainbow Falls

To get to Rainbow Falls, you’ll have to make your way along the trail towards Mt. LeConte. The hike to the waterfall is 5.4 miles roundtrip. If you want, you can continue past the waterfall for about 7 more miles to hike to Mt. LeConte. On your way to Rainbow Falls, you’ll cross over many creeks using footbridges. Rainbow Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains at 80 feet tall. It gets its name from the rainbow effect you see in the mist during the afternoons.

5. Laurel Falls

laurel falls in the smoky mountainsLaurel Falls is one of the easy hiking trails in Gatlinburg for kids and older adults. The trail is paved, making it easier than other trails because you won’t have to deal with tree roots or rocks tripping you up. The roundtrip length is 2.6 miles and is out and back. Once you’re at the top, you’ll see Laurel Falls. The largeness of the falls is impressive, since it is 80 feet tall. You can walk across a footbridge that separates the waterfall into upper and lower sections. This trail is popular, so to avoid heavy traffic, you should go early in the morning.

You have a ton of options for hiking trails in Gatlinburg! Since you know which trails you’ll want to explore, now you just need a place to stay. Check out our cabins in Gatlinburg and book one today for your vacation!