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the gatlinburg trail

Your Complete Guide to the Gatlinburg Trail


Whether you are visiting the Smoky Mountains for the first time or the hundredth, the Gatlinburg Trail will always be a great place to slow down and enjoy being surrounded by nature. It’s one of the best easy Smoky Mountain hiking trails due to its accessibility and location. We want to share all the details and answers to some FAQs, so keep reading to learn all about it!

How long is the Gatlinburg Trail?

The Gatlinburg Trail is 1.9 miles, with the roundtrip length being about 3.8 miles. On average, it typically takes about an hour to walk one way, possibly more if you have young children or want to take your time exploring. If you decide to walk the trail out and back, be prepared to spend at least 2 hours hiking.

Where does the Gatlinburg Trail start?

Sugarlands Visitor Center sign in Great Smoky National ParkTrailheads can be found at both ends of the trail. One is in downtown Gatlinburg off of River Road, just past the Park Grill restaurant. The other end of the trail is located inside the national park boundary at Sugarlands Visitor Center. So you can choose either end to be your starting point! If you want to continue exploring after finishing the Gatlinburg Trail, you can find more trails near Sugarlands Visitor Center that are short and family-friendly, including the quick walk to Cataract Falls!

Are dogs allowed on the Gatlinburg Trail? 

Yes! It is one of two dog-friendly hiking trails in the entire national park. So you can book one of our pet-friendly cabins in Gatlinburg and be minutes from this beautiful hiking trail in the Smokies where your dog is more than welcome! A friendly reminder – remember to always have your pet on a leash and clean up after them!

Can I bike the Gatlinburg Trail? 

Biking in Smoky Mountains National Park is a great activity for both adults and children, and this nature trail is the best for a scenic bike ride. Since it is relatively flat and mostly paved, you will have no trouble at all riding your bike the entire length of the trail. 

More Things to Know About the Gatlinburg Trail

river along the gatlinburg trailSo, what else can you expect along the way? You will follow the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, so during warmer weather, kids will love looking for fish and salamanders. You may also see other wildlife, from squirrels and birds to deer. The rushing stream and woodland setting is peaceful, and since the trail has less than 200 feet of elevation gain, you won’t have to worry about exerting yourself too hard to enjoy the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains. You will cross a beautiful bridge at one point, as well as walk past an old homestead. A gorgeous stone chimney is mostly all that remains! 

Now you know everything there is to know about the Gatlinburg Trail. Do you want more ideas of things to do during your trip to the Smokies? Read more about the best places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!