clingmans dome
August 7, 2020

When you come to the Smoky Mountains, you probably want to spend some time in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the best ways to explore is to go on hikes in the Smoky Mountains, but we know everyone isn’t a hiker. Check out these 6 of the best beginner hikes in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Laurel Falls

laurel falls

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular easy hikes with a waterfall. The roundtrip length is 2.6 miles, and the entire path is paved, making it much easier to hike than a regular trail. You’ll probably see a ton of families on the trail in the middle of the day. Once you reach the end of the trail, you’ll see the 80-foot tall waterfall and both tiers. You can walk across the falls and take pictures in front of it.

2. Cataract Falls

Another great beginner hike in the Smoky Mountains is Cataract Falls. The roundtrip length is 1 mile, and the path is clearly laid out. You’ll cross creeks on bridges, walk through some forest, and see a small waterfall at the end of the hike. This is a great hike for small children and older adults because it is mostly flat and super short.

3. Gatlinburg Trail

bridge on the Gatlinburg trail

If you want to stay close to Gatlinburg, you can hike the Gatlinburg Trail. This beginner trail is a little longer than the others at 3.8 miles roundtrip, but it is a great hike. You’ll cross footbridges and walk beside the Little Pigeon River for a good portion of the trail. Then you’ll walk through dense forest, where there are remains of old homesteads. The Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only trails in the national park that is dog friendly.

4. Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome is another great beginner hike in the Smoky Mountains. The roundtrip length is 1 mile, and the entire path is paved, making it easier to climb. The climb is pretty steep, but the views at the top of the observation tower. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see up to 100 miles away.

5. Spruce Flats Falls

spruce flats falls

Spruce Flats Falls is another waterfall hike that’s easy for beginners to go on. The roundtrip length is 1.8 miles. You’ll hike through a ton of forest, so you’ll be able to enjoy the natural setting. The waterfall has a few tiers, and it is beautiful. Technically, this trail and waterfall aren’t on the official map, but the trail is well worn.

6. Porters Creek Trail

Porters Creek Trail is another long beginner hike in the Smoky Mountains. The roundtrip length of this trail is 4 miles. You’ll find old homesteads and a ton of wildflowers in the spring. You’ll cross over footbridges on creeks, and near the end of the trail, you’ll come across Fern Branch Falls.

These beginner hikes in the Smoky Mountains are a great way to get out and explore, even when you don’t go hiking that much! Want to know what else you should do when you stay with us? Check out these Gatlinburg attractions for some ideas!