Into the Wild: Exploring the Smoky Mountains Hiking Trails!

These Great Smoky Mountains are perfect for beginners and casual hikers! Hike to waterfalls, historic cabins, and stunning mountain views.

If you’re looking to take in the grandeur of the Great Smoky Mountains in North Carolina without breaking a sweat, we’ve got you covered. These easy Smoky Mountain hikes, rich in scenic beauty, are perfect for beginners and those who prefer a relaxing stroll amidst nature as opposed to strenuous climbs.

Dreaming of the best hiking near Pigeon Forge, but you’re not yet ready for a challenging hike? Here are just a few of our favorite easy hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains.

 Easy Trails in Smoky Mountains for Beginners

Grotto Falls Trail

Distance: 2.6 miles roundtrip

If you’re searching for another adventure in the Smoky Mountains, look no further than the charming Grotto Falls, one of the best short hikes in the Smokies.

This inviting trail leads you through the enchanting woods, and then towards the rewarding serene 25-foot waterfall. It’s a classic sight in the Smokies that presents picture-perfect opportunities from all angles.

Waterfall at Grotto Falls in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
photo credit: Michael Calvert via Facebook

Walker Sisters Cabin Trail

Distance: 1 mile round trip

If you’re looking for enjoyable, kid friendly hikes in Smoky Mountains, the Walker Sisters Cabin Trail is your destination

It’s one of the easy hikes in Gatlinburg, starting from a convenient parking lot and meandering through lush forests leading to the historic log cabin.

The Walker Sisters Cabin is a journey back in history, a glimpse into the lives of the five Walker sisters who chose to sustain their traditional lifestyle even as times changed.

Aside from the stunning views along the way, this quick journey is also a remarkable display of the region’s heritage.

Alum Cave Trail

Distance: 4.4 miles roundtrip

The Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular easy hikes Gatlinburg has to offer. This accessible path guides you toward the majestic Alum Cave Bluffs, a collection of awe-inspiring rock cliffs offering unmatched views of the Alum Cave Creek Valley.

Related Post: Waterfall Hikes Smoky Mountains – 12 Stunning Trails to Explore

An iconic spot among travelers and hikers for generations, these easy hikes Great Smoky Mountains are steeped in natural beauty and history.

Once on top, relax and enjoy the fresh mountain air, or have a picnic while enjoying the views.

Alum Cave Creek flowing through the woods - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA

Fighting Creek Nature Trail

Distance: 1.2 miles roundtrip

Another gem among the easy Smoky Mountain hiking trails is the Fighting Creek Nature Trail. As one of the best nature trails for families with kids, this easy hike weaves its way through a luscious forest landscape and crosses a babbling creek.

The trail offers joyous encounters with nature’s wonders, making every step a learning experience for young adventurers. It’s a wonderful opportunity to enjoy an intimate encounter with nature without tiring out the little tots too much.

Abrams Falls Trail

Distance: 5 miles roundtrip

The Abrams Falls Trail is a well-trodden path that escorts you to the undeniable gem of the journey, Abrams Falls.

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains will always lead you to incredible sights by mother nature, like the stunning 20-foot cascade Abrams Falls that takes a dramatic plunge into a deep pool. It creates a spectacle that is as refreshing as it is visually striking.

Related Post: Best Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains – 9 You Don’t Want to Miss

The trail traverses through various landscapes, including pine-oak forests on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forests along the creek.

This diversity adds a sense of adventure to the hike compared to other easy hikes in the Smokies.

Abrams Falls Surrounded by Forest in The Smoky Mountains - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA

Arch Rock Trail

Distance: 1.2 miles roundtrip

Among the easiest hikes in the Smokies, The Arch Rock Trail stands out. It’s one of the easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains because it presents a unique experience—the arch rock’s distinctive geological formation.

You will be mesmerized by an impressive natural arch rock while winding your way through an easy trail with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Conveniently, the trailhead starts at the Arch Rock Picnic Area. After soaking in spectacular scenery, you can head back for a comfortable picnic.

As with all easy hikes, the Arch Rock Trail showcases the astonishing scenery while remaining accessible to hikers of all levels.

This 1.2-mile roundtrip trail leads to a natural arch rock formation. The trail is one of the easy hikes near Gatlinburg and offers views of the surrounding mountains. The trailhead is located at the Arch Rock Picnic Area in Gatlinburg, TN.

Rainbow Falls Trail

Distance: 5.4 miles roundtrip

Experience an engaging adventure on the Rainbows Falls Trail, one of the most accessible and easy hikes in the Smoky Mountains has to offer.

It’s part of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail but is a shorter hike that navigates you to an awe-inspiring 85-foot waterfall.

Related Post: Gatlinburg Hidden Gems – 7 Secret Spots You Don’t Want to Miss

The trail gently meanders through vibrant green forests, providing an exhilarating yet manageable challenge that caters to all hiking experiences.

The culmination of this hike is a spectacular moment where you’ll bear witness to the waterfall’s namesake rainbow, a magic only possible on sunny afternoons.

Distant view of the Mount Le Conte's Rainbow Falls

Charlie’s Bunion

Distance: 8.4 miles roundtrip

Charlies Bunion Trail is part of the longer Appalachian Trail and leads to a summit that offers stunning 360-degree views of the Smokies.

The round trip is longer than most easy hikes, but the trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, with clear markers and minimal obstacles.

There are several scenic overlooks and rest stops along the way, providing opportunities to catch your breath, enjoy the views, and take pictures.

Cades Cove Loop Road

Distance: 11 miles roundtrip

Traversing the Cades Cove Loop Road presents an easy yet breathtaking experience. This paved, flat road, devoid of steep climbs or significant elevation, is open to cars, bicycles, and those who wish to explore on foot.

Related Post: Cades Cove Loop – Your Complete In-Depth Guide

This makes it suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, including families with young children and seniors.

You can enjoy panoramic vistas, rolling hills, meadows bursting with wildflowers in spring, and vibrant fall foliage in autumn. It’s one of the best Smoky Mountain hiking trails you’ll want to keep coming back to.

Distant view along a fence with John Oliver Cabin in background Cades Cove in Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, USA
photo credit: Meredith Millhorn Boatman via Facebook

Clingmans Dome

Distance: 11 miles roundtrip

For another remarkable yet manageable adventure, uncover the beauty of Clingmans Dome, considered one of the Great Smoky Mountains hiking favorites.

It’s an especially popular spot for walkers and runners, meaning you are likely to encounter fellow outdoor enthusiasts along the way.

Related Post: Ramsey’s Cascades – Ultimate Hiking Guide

Don’t be daunted by the steep approach! The trail is well-paved and easier to traverse than it seems from a distance.

The most straightforward way to reach the summit of this majestic point is by driving to the Clingmans Dome Visitors Center and then embarking on a half-mile hike to the top. The effort is well worth it, with the sweeping views providing a jaw-dropping reward.

Plan a Trip to the Great Smokies

Plan your dream Great Smoky Mountains adventure with Tripster and experience the magic of this national treasure!

Tripster’s budget-friendly deals and vacation packages make it easy to craft a personalized itinerary that fits your interests and budget. Choose from an array of guided hikes, scenic drives, and wildlife encounters – the possibilities are endless!

To complete your escape, bundle those activities with comfortable accommodations located in the heart of the Great Smokies.

With everything pre-arranged, you can focus on what truly matters: conquering breathtaking peaks, soaking in the fresh mountain air, and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

Start planning your hiking Great Smoky Mountains adventure today and let Tripster guide you to an unforgettable experience!

Smoky Mountains Hiking Trails FAQs

Ready to lace up your hiking boots and hit the longest trail in the Smoky Mountains? The Appalachian Trail, a colossal path meandering through the awe-inspiring landscapes, holds the coveted title.

Stretching a whopping 71 miles within the park boundaries, this trail presents the chance to immerse yourself in the region's majestic beauty!

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a hiker's paradise, offers many trails to suit every level of experience - with over a whopping 150 to choose from.

Whether you're thirsting for the thrill of strenuous trails or easing into gentle strolls, the park provides an all-inclusive nature playfield to suit your trekking profile. So gear up, get out, and explore!

When you're looking for the most scenic trail in the Smokies near Gatlinburg, the daunting Clingmans Dome trail is surely your best bet, offering breathtaking panoramic views that are the envy of even the most experienced travelers.

What Did We Miss?

Have a favorite trail to add to our guide? Leave us a comment below!

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Written by Nicole King

There are only two things that make Nicole really happy–books and travel! When her head’s not buried in a book, she’s most likely...

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