laurel falls
August 20, 2020

Your whole family will enjoy spending time together in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The most popular activity families enjoy doing together is going for a hike. We want to share some of the best kid friendly Smoky Mountain hiking trails your whole family will enjoy, no matter what age they are. Here are 6 Smoky Mountain hiking trails that are kid friendly:

1. Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls is a great hike for families. The roundtrip length is 1 mile, and it’s perfect for small children and adults. The path is clearly laid out and easy to follow. You’ll walk beside the creek and see all kinds of wooded views. You might even see squirrels, birds, and bugs on your hike. Near the end, you’ll see Cataract Falls, which is especially beautiful after it rains. This is a great family hike to go on, especially if you have small children.

2. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is a pretty popular kid friendly Smoky Mountain hiking trail. This looped trail is 0.5 mile long, making it short and sweet. Your kids will enjoy being out in nature, and they’ll burn some energy walking along the trail. This trail is close to Gatlinburg and runs alongside a creek, where your family can explore and possibly see some wildlife. This trail is paved, making it wheelchair and stroller accessible.

3. Elkmont Nature Trail

Elkmont Troll Bridge

If you want to enjoy being out in the woods but aren’t sure your kids can handle a long hike, take them on the Elkmont Nature Trail. This looped trail is 0.8 miles long, and it is usually used for birding and spotting wildflowers. It’s not usually crowded, making it a great trail to go on if you want to get away from the crowds for a little while. Everyone will enjoy the shade of the trail and the beautiful wooded views.

4. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is the perfect family Smoky Mountain hiking trail. It’s more challenging than the previous trails mentioned at 2.6 miles roundtrip. The path of this trail is also paved, but it definitely has an incline. In the spring, you and your kids will enjoy seeing the mountain laurel that grows in the area. When you reach Laurel Falls, your kids may want to splash in the water, and you’ll definitely want to take pictures in front of the falls.

5. Gatlinburg Trail

gatlinburg trail

The Gatlinburg Trail is a great kid friendly hike. Its roundtrip length is 3.8 miles, but it takes you beside the west prong of the Little Pigeon River. Then you’ll cross the river on a footbridge and make your way through the woods. This is a great trail to explore and enjoy being outdoors as a family. Near the end, you’ll see old remains of homesteads. Plus, Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only dog friendly trails in the national park.

6. Metcalf Bottoms Trail

If you were planning a picnic in the mountains, Metcalf Bottoms Trail is a great hike to go on after you finish eating since it is near the picnic area. This out-and-back Smoky Mountain hiking trail is 1.5 miles long. You’ll make your way through the woods, and at the end, you’ll see an old log cabin school. Your kids will love hiking together on this trail.

There are so many kid friendly Smoky Mountain hiking trails in the national park. Wondering what else you should do while visiting the national park? Here are the top things to do in the Smokies with your kids!