Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park! While there are some strenuous trails, you will also find easy hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. These trails are perfect for kids and people who don’t hike frequently. Find out more about 4 hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that are easy for everyone:
1. The Gatlinburg Trail
Located right outside downtown Gatlinburg, the Gatlinburg Trail is about 4 miles roundtrip. When you first get on the trail, you’ll be walking along the west prong of the Little Pigeon River. Kids will love to get in the water and look for fish, salamanders, and crawdads. You’ll cross the river on one of the longest foot bridges in the park. Then there’s a small hill, and at the top of the hill, there are the remains of an old homestead, including a chimney. This is the perfect trail for anyone since there are no steep climbs and the path is clear and wide. Horses and dogs are allowed on the Gatlinburg Trail.
2. Laurel Falls
One of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains is Laurel Falls. The entire path is paved, making it easy for anyone to climb. The roundtrip length is 2.3 miles. This trail does have steep drop offs along the way, so be sure to keep an eye on children if they come with you. You’ll be able to see mountain laurel in the spring, which is where this trail partly gets its name. The other part is due to the 80-foot waterfall at the summit of the hike. A footbridge cuts the waterfall in half, creating a top portion and a bottom portion. You’ll be able to take incredible pictures in front of the waterfall. Since Laurel Falls is so popular, you should hike this trail early in the morning to avoid crowds.
3. Elkmont Nature Trail
The Elkmont Nature Trail is a 0.7-mile roundtrip hiking trail. This trail used to be used as a logging trail before the national park was established. This is the perfect trail to use for getting your kids out and to teach them about nature. You’ll see all kinds of native plants, and you might even spot some wildlife. You’ll cross over a small stream, and your kids will enjoy playing in the water. During the spring and summer, you’ll find a ton of wildflowers along the trail. This walk is so short, you might want to do it more than once!
4. Andrews Bald
At 3.5 miles roundtrip, Andrews Bald is a fairly simple hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains. While it is the most difficult on this list, it is still accessible for just about anyone. You’ll hike through a spruce forest and eventually come to the bald, which is like an open meadow. This area is perfect for a picnic! You’ll have incredible views of the mountains and enjoy looking around. This area is known for flame azaleas and rhododendron in the spring and summer.
You’ll enjoy any of these hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. They’re simple enough, and everyone will love hiking on them. If you’re wondering what else you should do while you stay with us, check out these other things to do.