Trips

5 Sensational Great Smokey Mountain Trails

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.

2 turkeys in Great Smokey Mountain National Park

1. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is paved and accessible, which is excellent for the whole family.

Concrete path through trees in Great Smokey Mountain

This walk is flat and only a half-mile in length.

Creek with water flowing over rocks

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.

Remains of a fireplace in the trees off Sugerlands Nature Valley Smokey Mountain Trail

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.

Paved path up a hill on Clingman's Dome Smokey Mountain Trail

The highlight of Clingman’s Dome is a trek up the observation tower for 360-degree views.

The observation tower on Clingman's Dome Trail

On a clear day, you can see over 100 miles. Unfortunately, we weren’t there on a clear day!

Trees with fog

3. Alum Cave Bluff Trail

Alum Cave Trail runs to Mount LeConte (5 miles).

Pink flowers in the foreground and mountain views in the background

However, our turnaround point was Alum Cave Bluffs (2.3 miles).

Tall cliff on Alum Cave Smokey Mountain Trail.

If you’re short on time, you can hike to Arch Rock (1.4 miles) and enjoy a staircase through the cave.

Stairs through a camve

4. Kephart Prong Trail

This Smokey Mountain trail is an out and back. It is approximately 2 miles each way.

Bridge with a creek running underneath in the Smokies

Kephart Prong Trail ends at the Kephart Prong Shelter.

Stone and wood shelter in the woods

Along the way, hikers can see the remains of a Civilian Conservation Corps camp.

Remains of a chimney on Kephart Prong Trail in Smokey Mountain National Park

The 4 log footbridges are lots of fun!

Log footbridge crossing a creek

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.

Sign about the Appalachian Trail

If you’ve ever wanted to hike on the Appalachian Trail without actually hiking the Appalachian Trail, now is your chance.

Hiking trail with a fence in the woods

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.

Wooden Appalachian Trail sign

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!

We saw SO MUCH wildlife! Lots of turkeys!

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