Hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular attractions throughout this amazing region. The Smoky Mountains provide visitors with amazing mountain views, deep forest trails and beautiful waterfalls. You as a parent want to share these amazing aspects of nature with your child while keeping their focus. Well luckily, there are many great hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that are perfect for kids of all ages. During these amazing hikes your child will learn to appreciate all that nature has to offer while having fun and staying safe. Here are a few of the best kid friendly hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that the entire family are guaranteed to enjoy.
1. Kephart Prong Trail
The Kephart Prong Trail offers you and your children a chance to explore the history of the Smoky Mountain region from the logging era to the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps. Before the establishment of the park the area this trail is located in was heavily logged but now has since been recovered by the forest. If you and your children keep a lookout you can still find evidence of the old logging railway. This trail follows the Kephart Prong for 2 miles until you reach the trail shelter.
During the hike, you and your children will cross 4 log bridges, the first 2 log bridges are very easy, however the last 2 are a little more difficult and may be better for older children who wish to see the shelter. This trail is 4 miles roundtrip and is recommended for children in elementary school and up since it is of moderate difficulty. Kephart Prong Trail is located 8.8 miles south of Newfound Gap on HWY 441.
Porters Creek is considered one of the best kid friendly hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. The 1 mile moderate walk from the parking lot to Porter’s Flat provides you with the opportunity to introduce your kids to the natural communities within the cove hardwood forest. There are also historical remnants of the people who lived in the area before the Great Smoky National Park was established. When you reach Porters Flat you will find a barn, a springhouse and a cabin, where children can imagine what is was like to live in the 1800s. Spring is especially a great time to visit Porters Creek because the wildflowers will be in bloom from March through April.
This 2 mile roundtrip hike is great for children of all ages because it is only of moderate difficulty. The trail is located in Greenbrier Cove which is only 6 miles east of Gatlinburg.
3. Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls Trail is one of the most amazing hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains for children. Throughout the hike you can talk to your children about the mountain laurel that the falls are named after, about the waterfall itself and the history of Laurel Falls. This 80-foot tall waterfall is one of the most popular destinations in the entire park. What also makes it great for children is that this trail is one of the four trails paved in the national park. This trail was originally paved to allow fire crews access to the Cove Mountain area in case of a fire.
To get to Laurel Falls, turn towards Cades Cove on Little River Road and drive 3.5 miles to the trailhead where there are parking lots on both sides of the road. This trail is 2.6 miles roundtrip and is of moderate difficulty.
Hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular attractions in the area and are something you and your family are not going to want to miss out on during your visit. So while you are checking out all the great hiking trails for your family to see on your vacation, don’t forget to check out our amazing Smoky Mountain cabin rentals where you and your family can relax after a busy day of hiking.