Top 5 Hiking Trails Near Gatlinburg to Try This Summer

19 June 2018 / By Contributor
Laurel Falls Trail bridge view

There is no better way to enjoy summertime in the Smoky Mountains than by going for a hike! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to more than 850 miles of hiking trails, and some of the best trails are right near our cabins in Gatlinburg! Here are the top 5 hiking trails near Gatlinburg to try this summer:

1. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains. It’s a relatively easy hike to do, so families love trying it when they visit. The trail is 2.6 miles to the waterfall and back, and worth every step. Laurel Falls is an 80-foot-high waterfall that has both an upper and lower section, divided by a walkway that crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. It takes about 2 hours to hike to the waterfall and back.

2. Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park! This hike is 4 miles to the waterfall, and the sight you see when you get there is more than enough of a reward. Water drops 100 feet over rocks and then collects in a small pool at the bottom. Along the trail, you’ll gain more than 2,000 feet in elevation as you follow rushing rivers and streams and pass through an old-growth cove hardwood forest on your way to the waterfall. Keep in mind that it takes 5-7 hours to hike the roundtrip distance of 8 miles, so leave early enough that you won’t have to walk back in the dark!

3. Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls is the perfect kid-friendly hike to go on in the summer! To get to Grotto Falls, you’ll hike along Trillium Gap Trail through an old-growth hemlock forest. The roundtrip distance to the waterfall and back is 2.6 miles. What’s unique about Grotto Falls is that it’s the only waterfall you can walk behind! The cool, moist environment near the falls makes it great during the summer, and it is a popular place to spot salamanders!

4. Alum Cave Trail

alum cave trail cave bluffThe Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails near Gatlinburg! During the summer, you’ll be able to see beautiful wildflowers in full bloom. Along the trail, you’ll see Arch Rock, which is a large concentration of black slate that formed a natural, arch-like shape over time. Then, you’ll see panoramic views from Inspiration Point, which has an elevation of 4,700 feet! The most notable landmark along the trail, however, is the Alum Cave Bluff, which is a massive concave overhang that stands about 80-feet tall. Many people turn around when they get to this point, but some venture past the bluffs toward Mount LeConte, which is the third highest peak in the Smoky Mountains.

5. Gatlinburg Trail

One of the easiest trails to hike in the Smoky Mountains is the Gatlinburg Trail! This trail travels 1.9 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg. It runs through the forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. During this hike, you’ll see gorgeous views of the river, and foundations and chimneys of several old homesites. The Gatlinburg Trail is one of only two trails in the park that allows dogs, so if you’re staying in one of our pet-friendly cabins, bring your four-legged friend along for the fun!

Where to Stay

Outside of a large cabin in Gatlinburg TNWhen you go hiking in the Smoky Mountains, there is no better place to stay than our Gatlinburg cabin rentals! Our Gatlinburg cabins put you just minutes away from these amazing trails in the national park. After your hike, you’ll love returning to the comfort of your cabin and enjoying amenities like an outdoor hot tub, a pool table, a fully equipped kitchen and more. Our cabins range from 1 bedroom to 7 bedrooms, so we can accommodate everyone from couples to large groups! Browse all of our Gatlinburg cabins to find the best one for your stay.

Find out all the information you need to know about the hiking trails near Gatlinburg, then plan your visit!