ogle place
January 26, 2021

There are lots of reasons you may be looking for an easy Smoky Mountain hike. Maybe you’re traveling with young kids, or you have a busy day planned and want to squeeze a hike in! Whatever the reason, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park has plenty of hikes that aren’t too challenging and won’t take all day to complete. Here are the top 5 easy Smoky Mountain hikes:

1. Spruce Fir Trail

spruce fir

The Spruce Fir Trail is a short hike that takes you 0.35 mile through a spruce-fir forest. Along this hike, the most common trees are red spruces and Fraser firs, but you’ll definitely spot some other plants including yellow birch, hobblebush, and blackberries! In addition, there are large chunks of exposed quarts along the trail. Much of the Spruce Fir Trail takes place on wooden boardwalks so you don’t have to worry about rocky or uneven terrain. This trail isn’t on the official park map, so you’re finding a hidden gem! To get to the trailhead, simply follow Clingman’s Dome Road until you reach the parking area for the Spruce-Fir Nature Trail.

2. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is a little bit longer than the other hikes on this list, but it’s still considered easy in difficulty! This 2.3 mile hike is extremely popular, so make sure you arrive early to find parking and avoid the crowds. The Laurel Falls Trail was originally constructed in 1932 to give firefighters access to Cove Mountain in the case of a forest fire. Over time, it became a popular trail among hikers visiting the Smoky Mountains. The main feature of this trail is Laurel Falls, a picturesque 80 foot waterfall. The falls are made up of a lower part and an upper part with a walkway between the two! This is the perfect hike if you want to see a beautiful Smoky Mountain waterfall without blocking out your whole day.

3. Little Brier Gap

walker sisters place

If you want to learn about the history of the Smoky Mountains, the Little Brier Gap Trail is the one for you! This 2.6 mile hike follows a stream called the Little Brier Branch for the first portion. Then, at 1.1 miles, hikers will reach the Walker Sisters Place. The Walker Sisters were five sisters that lived in a cabin in the Smoky Mountains and refused to sell their 123 acre farm to the National Park Service. Although the outside world moved on, they continued living their traditional mountain lifestyle until the last sister passed away in the 1960s. Today, all the historical structures on this trail are a part of the National Register of Historic Places.

4. Noah Ogle Self-Guiding Trail

The Noah Ogle Self-Guiding Trail is 0.8 miles long and takes you past multiple historic buildings. The first is the Ogle Cabin that was built in the 1880s. The cabin is known as a “saddle-bag” house, meaning it is made of two parts with a common chimney. After crossing two small bubbling brooks, you’ll pass the Ogle “tub” mill, where the Ogle family used water from LeConte Creek to power the mill to process corn meal. Finally, you’ll see the Ogle family’s “drove-through” barn, where visitors could drive or park their carriage under a covering while they picked up or dropped off supplies.

5. Spruce Flats Falls

spruce flats fallsSpruce Flats Falls is a 1.4 mile hike that takes visitors to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Smokies. Spruce Flats Falls cascades down in four tiers, over heights of 30 feet. This is another trail that isn’t on the official park map, but it still gets plenty of visitors because of the beautiful waterfall. To hike this unlisted trail, drive toward the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and start at the Lumber Ridge Trailhead.

If you’re trying to squeeze a hike into a busy day, these are some great options for you! These hikes are short and easy, while still diving into the natural beauty of the Smoky Mountains. Learn more about hiking in the Smokies and plan your trip today!