Indian Creek Falls along Middle Prong Trail
June 30, 2022

If you’re planning to hit the hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains this summer, there are several excellent trails that offer waterfalls, creeks and other great ways to keep cool! Whether you want to hike just a few miles or spend an entire day exploring the Smokies, we have the perfect trail for you! Just remember to wear comfortable clothing and pack your good hiking shoes because we guarantee you’ll get wet! Here are 4 hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains that are perfect for summer:

1. Rich Mountain Loop

The Rich Mountain Loop is an excellent choice for a summer hike as it offers plenty of opportunities to get your feet wet with 7 water crossings! The trailhead for this 3.4 mile hike starts on the right side of the road just before the start of the Cades Cove Loop Road, so the most convenient parking is at the information center. While the first 1.5 miles of the Rich Mountain Loop are steadily flat around the base of a mountain, the last couple of miles feature a steep incline so you’ll appreciate the opportunities to cool off!

2. Baskins Creek Trail

A beautiful waterfall flows over rocks on a scenic hiking trail.

Another one of the hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains that are perfect for summer is the Baskins Creek Trail, a 2.7 mile trail that is situated in the middle of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg. You’ll find the trailhead near the access point for Trillium Gap, Rainbow Falls, Bull Head and Old Sugarlands Trail. After about a mile into the hike, you’ll reach a steep side trail that leads up to Baskins Creek Cemetery. If you continue forward for just a bit, you’ll find the spur trail that leads to Baskin Creek Falls!

3. Jakes Creek Loop

If you’re craving a full day hike in the Smokies this summer, Jakes Creek Loop is an excellent choice as it features 23 water crossings along its 18 mile trail! The hike starts in Elkmont at the Jakes Creek trailhead, and then follows a series of other trails including Panther Creek, Middle Prong, Lynn Camp Prong and Miry Ridge. The first portion of the trail is an old paved road that goes through the remains of stone chimneys from the old Elkmont community, but then it takes an incline that makes up most of the loop.

4. Meigs Creek Trail

A stone staircase leads an uphill path through the woods behind a sign noting the Meigs Creek Trail.

When it comes to the best summer hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains, you won’t want to miss Meigs Creek Trail! This beautiful 3.5 mile trail is relatively easy and it features 18 water crossings where you can dip your feet into the water! The trailhead is located along Little River Gorge Road at the Sinks, a popular scenic waterfall where you can cool off right away! You’ll also experience another small waterfall about 1.7 miles into the trail. If you want to continue hiking, the trail intersects with the Meigs Mountain and Lumber Ridge Trail after 3.5 miles.

Now that you know about some of the best summer hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains, check out how you can beat the heat while hiking in the Smokies this summer!