Great Smoky Mountains is by far the country’s most visited national park. (It beat Zion by almost 9 million visitors!) This park is known for its biodiversity. On your next visit, be sure to check out these 5 Smokey Mountain trails. Hiking is a fantastic way to experience the park’s extraordinary plant and animal life.
1. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is paved and accessible, which is excellent for the whole family.
This walk is flat and only a half-mile in length.
Visitors can see the remains of home sites and how the forest has reclaimed the area since farmers and loggers lived here in the early 1900s.
2. Clingman’s Dome Trail
Clingman’s Dome is one of the most popular Smokey Mountain trails and is the highest point in the park.
The highlight of Clingman’s Dome is a trek up the observation tower for 360-degree views.
On a clear day, you can see over 100 miles. Unfortunately, we weren’t there on a clear day!
3. Alum Cave Bluff Trail
Alum Cave Trail runs to Mount LeConte (5 miles).
However, our turnaround point was Alum Cave Bluffs (2.3 miles).
If you’re short on time, you can hike to Arch Rock (1.4 miles) and enjoy a staircase through the cave.
4. Kephart Prong Trail
This Smokey Mountain trail is an out and back. It is approximately 2 miles each way.
Kephart Prong Trail ends at the Kephart Prong Shelter.
Along the way, hikers can see the remains of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.
The 4 log footbridges are lots of fun!
5. Appalachian Trail
The Appalachian Trail (AT) is over 2000 miles long and stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT runs through Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 71 miles.
If you’ve ever wanted to hike on the Appalachian Trail without actually hiking the Appalachian Trail, now is your chance.
You can hop on and hop off the AT in several locations in the park. Clingman’s Dome is a great place to explore the trail.
There are hundreds of miles of Smokey Mountain trails to explore, and you probably won’t be able to visit them all. Whatever time you have, get out of the car. A hike is a great way to experience this national park up close and personal.
Bonus: Check out Cades Cove!
While you’re in the smokies, you don’t want to miss Cades Cove. It’s an awesome place to spot wildlife!