black bear climbing a tree in Cades Cove
August 29, 2023

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains presents so many fantastic opportunities to connect with nature and more! From discovering majestic waterfalls to spotting native wildlife and more, there are lots of chances to make unforgettable memories while hiking here in the Smokies, just as long as you keep your eyes peeled! Here are some of the top things that you can spot when you go hiking in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Waterfalls

Laurel Falls

One of the most beautiful sights that you can come across while hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a waterfall! There are lots of opportunities to spot small and large waterfalls throughout the hiking trails here at the park. One popular waterfall is Laurel Falls, an 80-foot waterfall with a footbridge at the base! This makes for great photo opportunities and allows for excellent views of the waterfall. There are plenty of other waterfalls throughout the park as well, just waiting for you to discover them!

2. Wildlife

Another reason to keep your eyes peeled while you’re hiking in the Smoky Mountains is the chance to see incredible native wildlife! The Smoky Mountains are famously home to black bears, but there are also white-tailed deer, elk, plenty of bird species, and more that you can spot here in the Smokies! Some of the most popular areas for spotting wildlife are Cataloochee Valley and Cades Cove, as both spots contain wide-open spaces that make it easy to spot nearby animals. Just remember to always stay at least 50 yards away from wildlife and to avoid disturbing their natural environment. We recommend bringing some binoculars along with you so that you can get an even better look at any animals you spot along your hike!

3. Historic Sites

John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove

If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the Smokies and the settlers that lived here, you’ll love spotting and exploring historic sites while hiking in the Smoky Mountains. For instance, along the Cades Cove Loop Road you can visit the well-preserved John Oliver Cabin, while Cataloochee offers access to the Palmer Chapel. These historic sites allow visitors a glimpse into the lives of the settlers of the Smoky Mountains and can be a great part of a hiking adventure!

4. Mountain Overlooks

When hiking in the Smoky Mountains, some of the best things to keep an eye out for are the fantastic mountain overlooks located throughout the park. These overlooks offer visitors a great opportunity to take a rest and soak in the sprawling mountain views that the Smokies are so well known for. Plus, these overlooks are great for taking photos! You can explore the park and find overlooks on your own, or check out a list of some of the best spots for mountain views here at the park.

With these awesome things at the park, you’ll definitely want to keep your eyes peeled while hiking in the Smoky Mountains! From gorgeous waterfalls to historic sites and more, there are lots of opportunities to make lasting memories here at Smoky Mountains National Park. Find out about even more fun things to do here at the park and start planning your next visit today!