Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trail Information

Hiking Guide

One of the best ways to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is to go for a hike. If you haven’t hiked much recently, be conservative. Five miles roundtrip is a good maximum distance for a beginner.

Be sure to allow plenty of time to complete your hike before dark. As a rule of thumb, hikers in the Smokies travel about 1.5 miles per hour. Sunset times vary from 5:22 PM in December to 8:56 PM in June.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is America’s most popular national park, and foot traffic on some trails is heavy.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a wild-lands sanctuary and biosphere reserve that preserves one of the world’s most amazing deciduous forests. The park features more than 4,000 species of plants, 1,600 kinds of flowering plants, dozens of native fish, more than 230 species of birds and 65 varying species of mammals. Please remember that the purpose of the park is to preserve this natural wonder and its cultural heritage for those who visit it now and for generations to come. Be courteous not only to those around you, but also the surrounding area and its wildlife as well. Enjoy the time that you have here and be careful in your upcoming adventures.

family hiking in the Smoky Mountains


Distance given is roundtrip.

  • Cucumber Gap – Distance: 8.5 miles, Difficulty: Easy
  • Baskins Creek Falls – Distance: 3.8 miles, Difficulty: Easy
  • Clingmans Dome Tower — Distance: 1.0 miles, Difficulty: Easy
  • Laurel Falls — Distance: 2.5 miles, Difficulty: Easy – This is the most popular waterfall trail in the park. The paved trail is relatively flat and passes through a forest of pine and oak trees. The trailhead is located at the Laurel Falls parking area on Little River Road. Elevation gain is 200 feet.
  • Juney Whank Falls — Distance: 0.6 miles, Difficulty: Easy
  • Sugarlands Valley Trail — Distance: 0.5 miles, Difficulty: Easy — Paved trail built in 1993 to accommodate visitors with disabilities. The level trail leads to distinct forest life zones, a river and the remains of pre-park dwellings. The trailhead is located off Newfound Gap rd, 1/4 mile south of Sugarlands Visitor Center.
  • Gatlinburg Trail — Distance: 3.8 miles, Difficulty: Easy — It's the only dog-friendly trail on the Tennessee side of the Smokies.
  • Oconaluftee River Trail — Distance: 3.2 miles, Difficulty: Easy — It's the only dog-friendly trail on the North Carolina side of the Smokies.
  • Spruce-fir Self-guiding Nature Trail – Distance: 0.5 miles, Difficulty: Easy
  • Boulevard Trail – 16 miles – Difficulty: Somewhat Strenuous – This is the easiest of the five trails to Mount LeConte’s summit.Take the Appalacian Trail from Newfound Gap to Boulevard Trail. Elevation gain is 1,545 feet.
  • Abrams Falls — Distance: 5.0 miles, Difficulty: Moderate – This trail leads to the 20 foot high Abrams Falls, which spills into a scenic pool. The trail begins at the Abrams Falls parking lot at the west end of the Cades Cove Loop Rd. Elevation gain is 340 Feet.
  • Alum Cave Bluffs — Distance: 4.6 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Rich Mountain — Distance: 8.5 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Indian Creek Falls Trail — Distance: 4.1 miles, Difficulty: Easy to Moderate – This is a flat trail that offers an easy walk to picturesque Indian Creek Falls, which cascades 60 feet down a series of ledges into a wide pool.The trailhead is at the end of Deep Creek Rd. just past the Deep Creek Campground. Elevation gain is 100 feet.
  • Smokemont — Distance: 6.1 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Boogerman Loop — Distance: 7.5 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Andrews Bald — Distance: 3.6 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Rainbow Falls — Distance: 5.6 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Charles Bunion — Distance: 8.0 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Look Rock Tower — Distance: 1.0 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Grotto Falls — Distance: 2.6 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Hen Wallow Falls — Distance: 4.2 miles, Difficulty: Moderate – This trail makes a good, short day hike. The main trail leads to the top of the falls. A steep narrow side trail leads to the bottom. The trailhead is before the picnic area on the road to Cosby Campground. Elevation gain is 520 feet.
  • Albright Grove — Distance: 6.5 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Porters Creek Trail — Distance: 7.2 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Kephart Trail — Distance: 4.0 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Appalachian Trail — Distance: 2,167 miles, Difficulty: Moderate — The entire trip takes 4-6 months crossing 14 states, eight national forests, two national parks and 15 major rivers. Elevations range from 6,643 feet at Clingmans Dome in the Smokies to near sea level at the Hudson River in New York
  • Middle Prong Trail — Distance: 2.5 miles, Difficulty: Moderate
  • Chimney Tops Trail — Distance: 4.0 miles Difficulty: Strenuous — Winds through virgin forest to the Chimney Tops Pinnacles. It starts at the Chimney Tops Trailhead, located on Newfound Gap Road. Elevation gain is 1,335 feet.
  • Gregory Bald — Distance: 9.0 miles, Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Mount Sterling — Distance: 5.4 miles, Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Shuckstack Tower — Distance: 6.8 miles, Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Alum Cave Trail to Mount LeConte — Distance: 11 miles Difficulty: Starts Easy, Ends Strenuous – An initial 1.5 mile trail takes you through Arch Rock’s erosion-created tunnel. The next .8 miles is steeper and leads to Alum Cave Bluffs, which is a 100 ft high cliff. The last 3.2 miles lead to Mounta LeConte, one of the park’s best viewpoints. This last half of the trail is steep & at times, hikers must grip trailside cables to traverse cliffs.
  • Spence Field/Russell Field Loop/Thunderhead — Distance: 14.4 miles, Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Ramsey Cascades — Distance: 8.0 miles, Difficulty: Strenuous — This leads to the park’s highest waterfall. It passes through an old-growth deciduous forest before reaching the 100-foot-high Ramsey Cascades. Do not attempt to climb to the top of the falls; several attempts have resulted in fatalities. From Greenbrier, follow signs to the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead. Elevation gain is 2,375 feet.