laurel falls in winter
December 16, 2022

Most people probably think about exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park during spring, summer, or fall. But winter is a great time for hiking in Gatlinburg! You might get to experience a snowy day, or you can just take in the beautiful winter views. Either way, this is a fantastic time of year to explore. Check out some of the best winter trails that are close to Gatlinburg!

1. Laurel Falls Trail

A popular hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains that’s beautiful this time of year is Laurel Falls . It’s considered easy with a paved trail and round trip length of 2.3 miles, and the views at the end are totally worth it. The 80-foot-tall, two-tiered waterfall is a sight to behold, and people of all ages can enjoy getting out in nature on Laurel Falls Trail!

2. Alum Cave Trail

alum cave trail

If you’re on the hunt for a more moderate hike during winter, Alum Cave Trail is perfect for you! This is a great place for hiking in Gatlinburg, and it’s a pretty popular trail all throughout the year. As you hike up the mountain, you’ll come up on unique rock formations, including the famous Arch Rock with a stone stairway. The Alum Cave bluffs are incredible, but you should be cautious when you’re here in winter. There are large icicles, sometimes as big as 3 feet, that can fall.

3. Gatlinburg Trail

Are you bringing your pooch along on vacation? Then a great winter trail for hiking in Gatlinburg is the Gatlinburg Trail ! It’s one of the only dog friendly trails in the national park, and it’s considered easy. The round trip length is 3.8 miles, and you’ll cross over the river, see old homesteads, and enjoy mountain views through the trees!

4. Elkmont Nature Trail

elkmont nature trail in the smoky mountains

A truly simple trail that’s great for young kids or older adults is the Elkmont Nature Trail . You’ll walk past the creek and through the woods for a fun experience. You’ll love seeing nature plants and small wildlife along this 0.8-mile loop.

5. Cataract Falls Trail

One of the best trails for winter hiking in Gatlinburg is Cataract Falls Trail . It’s not too far from downtown, and it is considered easy. There are creeks, unique trees, and other unusual things to see along the trail. At the end, you’ll come up on Cataract Falls, a 25-foot waterfall that’s especially beautiful when icicles form!

6. Sugarland Valley Nature Trail

sugarland valley nature trail

The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is right outside of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This trail is easy, and it’s paved. There’s a stream that flows along the paved path, and it’s perfect for strollers and wheelchairs. People of all abilities and ages will enjoy getting out on this nature trail in the winter!

Planning another trip this summer? Don’t miss these summer hiking trails near Gatlinburg !

When you want to explore the national park but don’t want to go too far, these trails for hiking in Gatlinburg are perfect! Still thinking about what you’ll do when you’re in Gatlinburg? Check out these fun things to do in the Smoky Mountains for some ideas!

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