The mountain town of Gatlinburg is also referred to as the “Gateway to the Smokies” because of its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Smokies happen to be a mesmerizing forested mountain range that offers substantial hiking opportunities and stunning views of the landscape. If you are planning to visit the park for the first time in your life or are unacquainted with the locality, you might wish to know about the best hiking spots to utilize your time in the best possible manner while in Gatlinburg. We have compiled this list of top hiking and trekking spots in Gatlinburg, Tennessee so that first-time visitors and veterans can use it as a handy tool to determine where to hike during their upcoming visit.
1. Twin Creeks Trail
Twin Creeks Trail is an excellent but easy trail in Gatlinburg that is suitable for people belonging to different age groups. The trail also has remains of ancient settlements, which is a great visual treat as you pass by. The short yet pleasant trail is about 7.24 km (4.5 mi) long and sees light traffic. You will come across a creek along the way, which is called LeConte Creek. The water in Rainbow Falls came from here. Ogle Place Parking area is the perfect spot for hikers to park their cars. This trail features a variety of activity choices and can be accessed throughout the year.
Twin Creeks Trail
Address: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738, USA
2. Gatlinburg Trail
Gatlinburg Trail is another fantastic trail that is frequently used by bicyclists, hikers, and joggers. It also has the distinction of being only one of two walking paths where visitors can come with their bicycles and dogs. However, despite being a dog-friendly trail, your furry friends should be kept on leash. The park features a wooded round-trip path of about 6.11 km (3.8 mi), with a footbridge and beautiful river views. Located close to Gatlinburg, the trail is suitable for different skill levels and features a waterfall. Walkers can access this trail at any time of the year.
Address: 916 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
3. Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
The trail got its unusual name from a turbulent mountain stream. Roaring Fork is a fast, buoyant, and large mountain stream in this park. As you drive down this road after some rain, you will realize how this area got the name. This trail is an 8.85-km-long (5.5-mi) loop road and is a favorite spot among visitors to the famous Smokies. There are well-maintained log cabins here and beautiful views of the woods, historic buildings, and mountain streams along the way.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Address: Sugarlands Visitor Center, 1420 Little River Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
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4. Bullhead Trail
This beautiful hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains starts from another famous trail called Rainbow Falls Trailhead and is situated just outside the town of Gatlinburg. Peaceful and beautiful, Bullhead Trail offers solitude in abundance, with plenty of mesmerizing mountain and sea views, making this park a magical place. Rated as a tough trail, it offers a string of activity options and is best when accessed between the months of March and November. The trail is frequented by a large number of nature lovers and walkers and covers a stretch of about 20.6 km (12.80 mi).
Address: 453 Loop Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
5. Grapeyard Ridge Trail
Another peaceful trek at the mighty Smoky Mountains, Grapeyard Ridge Trail sees moderate traffic. The trail stretches for about 23.17 km (14.4 mi) and is perched close to Gatlinburg. Walkers will come across captivating wildflowers on the way, and the path is regarded as a difficult track by many since it gains an elevation of 3,218 ft (981 m). It offers plenty of activity choices and is most suitable to visit in the months of March to October. The trail is dotted with heritage sites and several ancient homesteads. This is undoubtedly one of the most historically rich paths in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Grapeyard Ridge Trail
Address: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
6. Ramsey Cascades Trail
Ramsay Cascades Trail is another fabulous hiking spot that features a waterfall and a challenging uphill climb in a scenic setting. Covered with forest, the hiking spot has a length of 13.03 km (8.1 mi) and is a popular spot for hikers and fans of the great outdoors. Situated near the city of Gatlinburg, this backtrail is considered one of the more difficult hiking spots in the region. This place is mainly used for fly fishing and hiking and is open throughout the year. Hikers should prepare for a slow and strenuous climb that becomes steep towards the final lap.
Ramsey Cascades Trail
Address: Ramsey Prong Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
7. Baskins Creek Falls
Baskins Creek Falls is a beautiful and undisturbed hike that you can undertake during the summer, which is its peak season. The hike starts outside the city of Gatlinburg, from Baskins Creek Trailhead. Initially, the climb is short and easy and is an excellent option if you wish to be away from the crowds, but it gradually gets more strenuous. The trail has a length of about 4.34 km (2.7 mi) and is an excellent hiking spot in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The waterfalls you will find here are definitely worth the hike.
Baskins Creek Falls
Address: Baskins Creek Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
8. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
This loop trail with moderate traffic is quite close to Gatlinburg and stretches for about 0.80 km (0.5 mi). The trail is appropriate for hikers of varying skill levels. Accessible throughout the year, the short path provides different kinds of activity options. There is a small parking lot for people who wish to cover it. The trail is easy, flat, and paved and crosses a wooded area, while a part of it advances along the river. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail offers an excellent stroll for the entire family.
Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
Address: Sugarland Valley Accessible Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
9. Rainbow Falls Trail
Rainbow Falls Trail starts outside the city of Gatlinburg and is not a difficult climb initially. However, towards the end, the hike is not that easy. Make sure you choose the right kind of footwear when hiking here. Also, you will find several excellent picnic spots while covering this trail. The hike culminates at Rainbow Falls and covers an approximate stretch of 4.34 km (2.7 mi). Hikers will find two footbridges before they reach the falls. It is one of the most prominent trails in the region and popular among outdoor enthusiasts.
Rainbow Falls Trail
Address: Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee, United States
10. Cove Mountain Trail
Cove Mountain Trail is primarily used for walking, hiking, bird watching, and nature trips. The trail is most suitable for hiking between March to October. The trailhead sees moderate traffic and is set close to Gatlinburg. The path starts from Laurel Falls Trailhead and features a lovely waterfall. If you want to avoid traffic, it is best to start your hike in the early morning, during the off-season - on a weekday, or early in the evening.
Cove Mountain Trail
Address: Sugarlands Residence Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, United States
Trekking and hiking in Gatlinburg
In case you are an adrenaline junkie or an outdoorsy person, Gatlinburg is an excellent place to visit. To make your life simpler, we have selected these top hiking and trekking spots in Gatlinburg, Tennessee so you can choose the most suitable trail.
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