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laurel falls in the smokies

5 Best Autumn Hikes in the Smokies


Hiking is a fun year-round activity for anyone looking to soak in some Vitamin D, but the fall season is especially great due to the bright, changing leaves. The stunning scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains is made even more beautiful with the reds, oranges, and yellows of autumn. Take a look at the top autumn hikes in the Smokies for easy, moderate, and high-difficulty levels:

1. Laurel Falls

Laurel Fall is one of the most popular family-friendly Smoky Mountain waterfall hikes for a reason! It’s very accessible and just over 2 miles in length (roundtrip) so beginners and families will love this hike. Laurel Falls is approximately 80 feet tall and divided into an upper and lower section with a walkway in between, making this area the perfect spot for photos. 

2. Baskins Creek 

noah ogle cabin In the Roaring Fork Motor Trail area of the Smokies is the Baskins Creek Trail. Around 3 miles roundtrip, this easy hike takes you through the peaceful forest where you’ll eventually reach a waterfall. There’s also a short side trail that leads to the old Baskins Cemetery. Baskins Creek Trail is also close to the Noah “Bud” Ogle cabin, which is definitely a beautiful sight in the fall!

3. Alum Cave Trail 

The Alum Cave Trail is considered one of the more moderate hikes in the Smokies, at nearly 5 miles roundtrip. But you’ll be treated to spectacular panoramic views along the way, especially at Inspiration Point. Arch Rock and Alum Cave are two more areas of interest on this trail, making it a day hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you won’t want to miss! 

4. The Jump Off

autumn hikes in the smokiesAnother moderately difficult hike we recommend for tremendous views of fall foliage is The Jump Off. You’ll begin this 6.5-mile hike at Newfound Gap and the Appalachian Trail before eventually turning onto the Boulevard Trail. You’ll then reach a marked side trail and be rewarded with views of Mt. LeConte, Mount Guyot, and Charlie’s Bunyon, which is a great add-on to your hike if you have the energy. 

5. Mount Cammerer

The hike to Mount Cammerer is just over 11 miles long (roundtrip), so this is definitely a strenuous hike for seasoned hikers, not necessarily for beginners. You’ll begin at the Low Gap Trailhead located at the Cosby Campground where you’ll steadily climb the old-growth forest. The peak of Mount Cammerer sits at approximately 4,928 feet and provides one of the best views in the entire national park. At the very end of the trial is a Western-style fire tower, offering 360-degree views of the Smoky Mountains and its colorful autumn foliage. 

Now you know a few of the best autumn hikes in the Smokies! Learn more about other things to do in the Smoky Mountains in the fall so you can start planning a fun getaway. We hope to welcome you to the area very soon!