The Great Smoky Mountains are some of the wildest mountains in all of the Appalachian Range. High summits, deep valleys, rushing rivers, dense forests, and treeless balds make up an intricate landscape that’s best explored on foot.Less
Clingmans Dome is the highest point in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the third tallest mountain east of the Mississippi. It’s summit is 6,643 feet above sea level, but not hard to reach thanks to a road and paved trail that leads to an observation tower If you want an epic view without epic effort to reach it, Clingmans Dome is for you.
Laurel Falls is a tiered cascade of about 80 feet in height, dropping in multiple columns over glistening rocks, and surrounded by the lush greenery of mountain laurel. The laurel is what the waterfall is named for, and you'll see lots of this thick-leaved shrub plus its cousin, rhododendron, all along the trail. They bloom in early summer with white and purple blossoms.
Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, due to its easy access from Gatlinburg and relatively short distance to rewarding views. It is not easy, however, because of its steepness. The Chimney Tops are a set of rock pinnacles at the top of the mountain.
Abrams Falls is a high-volume waterfall about 20 feet high that drops into a large pool with great swimming spots and a wide beach of river stones. It’s extremely popular during warm months for the swimming, but scenic at any time of year. The hike begins from Cades Cove Loop, so getting to the trailhead can be a headache on busy days because of traffic on the one-way road. Come with a mindset to take it slow and enjoy the views; they are sublime.
Originating from the Smokemont Campground, this 6.5-mile loop is an excellent introduction to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. It's perfect for the entire family and follows the picturesque Bradley Fork for part of the journey.
This hike is considered by most people to be one of the best in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are many ways to access the popular summit of Mount LeConte, but this is by far the most common. Multiple landmarks line the way, offering plenty of options to form shorter out-and-back hikes.
This loop hike ecompasses some of the most dramatic terrain in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and one of the few 4,000-foot ascents to be found in the Eastern US. It can be done as a long day hike but is best enjoyed as a 1-2 night backpacking trip. All backcountry camping requires a permit and campsite reservations from the national park.
This route begins at Fontana Dam and takes you through the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. According to Wikipedia, "Fontana is the tallest dam in the Eastern United States, and at the time of its construction, it was the fourth tallest dam in the world." Beginning on the east side of the dam, cross over it and onto a short piece of road. Following the white blazes, you will eventually merge onto singletrack and begin climbing.
Newfound Gap Road, also referred to as US-441, is the southern terminus for this popular segment of the Appalachian Trail. Given that the road is maintained year-round, this serves as a popular trailhead and resupply point for the weary thru-hiker.
The Mountains to Sea Trail is North Carolina's premier thru-hiking trail. Connecting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Outer Banks, it showcases the state's diverse and beautiful terrain. It connects high elevation spruce-fir forests to rolling Piedmont hills and fresh springs to coastal beaches. This portion of the trail is perfect for day hikers and backpackers and makes a great point-to-point trek.