abrams falls in cades cove
November 3, 2021

The Smoky Mountains are known for their beautiful scenery and miles of hiking trails. You may be trying to decide which trails are the best ones to explore while you’re in town and what kind of natural features you want to see along the way. There are several hikes people love to explore again and again, and you’ll want to try them too! Here are 5 of the most popular hiking trails in the Smokies:

1. Laurel Falls Trail

laurel falls in the smoky mountains

One of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains is Laurel Falls Trail! Located right outside of Gatlinburg, this trail is frequently traveled by people because it is considered easy. The path is paved, making it easy to navigate, and the 80-foot-tall waterfall at the top of the trail is a beautiful sight to behold! Plus, the mountain laurel and mountain views along the trail make this one of the most popular hiking trails in the Smokies.

2. Alum Cave Trail

Another trail that is popular in the national park is Alum Cave Trail. It is one of the most popular ways to get to the summit of Mount LeConte, though many people stop hiking once they reach Alum Cave. Along the trail, you will see beautiful rock features, including Arch Rock, and climb up on stone staircases. There are incredible views along the way, and once you reach the bluffs, you’ll be impressed by the sheer size of them. Alum Cave Trail is perfect to hike any time of the year.

3. Grotto Falls Trail

grotto falls smoky mountains

Most people want to see at least one waterfall when they visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is why they might decide to hike the Grotto Falls Trail! Along this moderate hiking trail in the Smokies, you will see dense forest views as you hike alongside the creek that will lead you to the waterfall. If you start your hike early, you might just see the llamas that take supplies to the summit of Mount LeConte! When you reach Grotto Falls, you’ll love watching the water pour into the pool below, but the coolest part of seeing this natural feature is being able to walk behind the falls!

4. Abrams Falls Trail

One of the most popular places in the national park is Cades Cove, and while you’re driving around the Loop, you might find that you want to get out and explore. If you decide to head out, hike the Abrams Falls Trail! Located about halfway around the Loop, you can make your way through old forest growth and see all kinds of forested views as you hike through the woods. Near the end of the trail, you’ll hike beside the river until you reach Abrams Falls, a 20-foot-tall waterfall with an impressive amount of water that rushes over the rocks!

5. Rainbow Falls Trail

rainbow falls

Rainbow Falls Trail is another hiking trail in the Smokies that is popular with visitors! The moderate trail takes you through a beautiful rhododendron forest in the spring, and you’ll get to cross creeks on footbridges as you make your way to the end. Once you reach Rainbow Falls, you’ll be impressed by the sheer size of the 80-foot-tall, single-drop waterfall!

Don’t miss out on these other fun things to do in the Smoky Mountains!

You won’t want to miss out on exploring these popular hiking trails in the Smokies! Wondering where else you should go in the national park? Check out these most popular places in the Great Smoky Mountains!