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Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails

All Smoky Mountain Vacations
214 Sharon Dr.
Seymour, TN  37865

With more than 800 square miles, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park features self-guided nature trails, peaceful quarter-mile walkways not requiring boots and back packs and moderate to strenuous backcountry mountain trails for the novice or experienced hiker. The Smokies supply an exciting opportunity to hike to elevations over 6000 feet, to experience part of the Appalachian Trail, to see wildflowers, old growth trees, a pioneer homestead, dramatic waterfalls, and other wildlife in their natural surroundings. For detailed trail maps, contact the Park Service at 865-436-5615 or 865-436-1231.


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Appalachian Trail - Known as the "A.T", stretches 2,174 miles through the valleys and ridges from Georgia to Maine. The entire hike takes 4 to 6 months to cross, meandering through 14 states, 8 national forests, 2 national parks and 15 major rivers. The vision of forester Benton MacKaye, the trail was developed by volunteers and officially opened, as a continuous trail  in 1937.  In 1968 the trail was designated as the first National Scenic Trail by the National Trails System Act. More than 4,000 volunteers contribute to the preservation of the Appalachian Trail yearly. Elevations range from 6,643 feet at Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains to near sea level at the Hudson River in New York. The trail traverses 68.6 miles through the Smokies and is accessible via the trail at Newfound Gap and from Fontana Dam. Shelters are provided every 7 - 8 miles, all featuring chain-link fences to keep bears away. Reservations must be made in advance and stays are limited to 1 night in the shelters. The best place to start a day hike is Newfound Gap on the cross-park road.

Abrams Falls Trail - The most popular hike in the Cove, this 2.5 mile moderate trail begins at the far end of the Cades Cove Loop at the wooden bridge over Abrams Creek and follows the creek to Abrams Falls, a 20 foot high waterfall offering the park's largest volume of water and the most photogenic waterfall and hike. Elevation gain 340 feet.

Alum Cave Bluffs Trail - 4.6 mile moderate to strenuous. The initial one and a half mile trail guides you through Arch Rock's, a natural erosion-created tunnel then to Inspiration Point which supplies a spectacular view of the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River's upper basin. The bluffs are a result of the Confederate mining of saltpeter during the Civil War and was also the site of a 19th century alum mine. This trail continues to Mt. LeConte, and its beautiful viewpoints. Roundtrip distance from the parking to LeConte is 10 miles. The last half of the trail is steep and, at times, hikers must use the trailside cables to traverse the cliffs. Trail begins at the Alum Cave Bluffs parking area at Newfound Gap Rd. between Newfound Gap and Chimney Tops. Elevation gain is 2,800 feet.

Andrews Bald Trail - 4.4 mile moderate hike up to the open, un-forested bald. Excellent views open to the south and in spring the azaleas explode with color. This trailhead is closed December through March.

Anthony Creek Trail - Beginning at the Cades Cove picnic area, this 3.5 mile moderate trail climbs to Bote Mountain Trail following Anthony Creek along the way. This is the Coves' easternmost trail and follows Anthony Creek to its headwaters. After 3 miles the trail reaches the backcountry campsite #9. The lower half of the trail features large hemlock trees and the upper portion offers views of the Cove in the winter months. You may also access Russell Field Trail leading up to the crest of the mountains along the Appalachian Trail to the Russell Field bald and outstanding views, Spence Field and Rocky Top.

Baskins Creek Falls - This 3.8 mile easy hike begins at the Roaring Fork Nature Trail parking area and connects Roaring Fork Road with Trillium Gap Trail by Cherokee Orchard Road. Features include the Baskin Cemetery and the beautiful 25 foot waterfall as well as peace and quiet due to the lack of hikers.

Cades Cove Nature Trail - .75 mile easy hike. Brochures are available at the start of the trail explaining the use of plants by the 19th century settlers. A variety of dogwood, red maples, sourwood, hickories and white pine trees line the trail. 

Chimney Tops Trail - CURRENTLY CLOSED, Scheduled to re-open June 30 - Trail will only be open Friday - Sundays until October 17 - 4.0 mile moderate to strenuous hike. Self-guided wandering through virgin forest to the Chimney Tops pinnacles. It is a steep climb to two rock spires 4,755 feet in elevation. From the top they provide a spectacular 360-degree view. Trail starts at the Chimney Tops trailhead, located on Newfound Gap Rd. Elevation gain is 1,335 feet. Not recommended for young children. 

Charlie's Bunion - An 8 mile moderate to strenuous hike following the Appalachian Trail. Hike down rocky crags along the state line ridge. Features excellent views and photo opportunities at the beginning and end of the trail..

Clingman's Dome Observation Tower Trail - This 1 mile easy path is paved and easily accessible with a wheelchair or stroller. Restroom facilities and resting benches are located along the trail. Upon reaching the summit, you will be standing on the highest peak (6,641 feet) of the Smoky Mountains. The tower features 360 degree views and the Appalachian Trail crosses at the base of the tower. Perfectly suited for families and children.

Gregory Bald Trail - This 4.5 mile strenuous trail is considered to be one of the best in the Park. Intended for experienced hikers, its 4.9 miles to the end of Forge Creek Road to Gregory Bald. The trail follows Forge Creek through an old-growth forest featuring 8 foot diameter tulip poplars and  steeply climbs 3,000 feet in elevation to Gregory Bald, a 10 acre bald with 360 degree views and the area's best display of flame azalea in June. Also serves as a horse trail.

Grotto Falls Trail - A 2.4 mile moderate hike. Located at pull-off 5 on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. Features a waterfall that visitors can walk behind, several stream crossings and hemlock forests.

Hen Wallow Falls Trail - 4.4 mile moderate trail. The main trail leads to the top of the falls. A steep, narrow side trail leads to the bottom. This 45-foot fall receives less visitation than many other area falls. Passes through a hemlock, poplar and rhododendron forest to the falls. Hen Wallow Creek, only two feet wide at the top of the falls, fans out to a width of twenty feet at the base. Trail begins before the picnic area on the road to Cosby Campground. Elevation gain is 520 feet.

Indian Creek Falls Trail - 1.5 mile easy hike. Wander through pines, oaks, rhododendron and hemlock, with wildflowers along the way, to the 60 foot drop. Along the route is Toms Branch Falls, another scenic fall. Trail begins at the end of Deep Creek Rd. just past the Deep Creek Campground. Elevation gain is 100 feet.

Laurel Falls Trail - 2.5 mile easy hike. The most popular waterfall trail in the Tennessee side of the park. Paved and suitable for wheelchairs and strollers, this relatively flat trail passes through a pine and oak forest and a series of cascades leading up to the 60 foot Laurel Falls. Trail begins at the Laurel Falls parking area on Little River Rd. Elevation gain is 200 feet.

Rabbit Creek Trail - 7.8 mile moderate trail beginning at the end of the Cades Cove Loop at the Abrams Falls Trail. Stream crossing is required. The trail ends at the Abrams Creek Campground.

Rainbow Falls Trail - 5.5 mile moderate hike to Rainbow Falls that cascades down 80 feet. Follows LeConte Creek and offers spectacular views at mile 5. Wanders through shady, cove hardwood and hemlock forests and mountain wildflower. Great trail for the mushroom enthusiast. One of five trails that leads to Mount LeConte's summit. Trail begins at the Rainbow Falls trailhead on Cherokee Orchard Rd. Elevation gain is 3,820 feet.

Ramsey Cascades Trail - 8.0 mile strenuous hike leading to the park's highest waterfall. Passes through an old-growth forest before reaching the waterfall. From Greenbrier, follow the signs to the Ramsey Cascades trailhead. Elevation gain is 2,375 feet.

Rich Mountain Loop Trail - A 7.4 mile strenuous trail beginning just past the entrance to the Cades Cove Loop Road. Passing through second growth hardwood forests of black locust, tulip poplar and oak trees the trail is somewhat isolated and serene. The trail climbs Crooked Arm Ridge to Rich Mountain along the ridge and descending down Indian Grave Gap Trail and Rich Mountain Loop Trail past the John Oliver cabin in the Cove. Features beautiful views of the Cove and wildlife viewing.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail - A one way, one lane paved auto tour 5.5 miles in length. Features include Baskins Creek, Grotto Falls and the Place of a Thousand Drips. Half way through the tour is a pull-off area leading to a 65 foot waterfall.

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail - A 3,000 foot paved, level loop. Accommodates wheelchairs and strollers. The level trail leads to distinct forest life zones, a river and the remains of pre-park dwellings. Special communications media is available at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This trail is a favorite with visitors with mobility and sensory impairments as well as older visitors and families with strollers. Trailhead is located off Newfound Gap Rd., 1/4 fourth of a mile south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

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All Smoky Mountain Vacations
214 Sharon Dr.
Seymour, TN 37865

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