4 of the Best Hikes in the Smoky Mountains for Families
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is made up of 520,000 acres of beautiful land. Within the park’s boundaries you’ll find close to 900 miles of hiking trails. Guests of all experience levels can find hikes that fit their interests and fitness levels perfectly. However, if you’re planning on hiking with your family then there are a number of trails that are best for folks with kids in tow. Below are 4 of the best hikes to do with your family during your vacation in the Smoky Mountains.
1. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
Families with strollers or those looking for a trail that is wheelchair accessible will enjoy time on the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. The trail is a short distance from downtown Gatlinburg and is the perfect spot to explore with little ones. With a wide, flat and paved terrain it’s one of the best beginner hikes in the park. However, don’t let the simplicity of the trail fool you, it’s still filled with plenty of beauty, historical chimneys and stone walls, and it also has river access. Be sure to stop off at Sugarlands Visitor Center to explore the book store and pick up any needed maps or info.
2. Gatlinburg Trail
The next step up for hikes is the Gatlinburg Trail. The hike is almost 4 miles roundtrip but has very little elevation gain and is rated as easy. During the hike, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the river, one of the longest footbridges in the park, remnants of an old homestead and countless slivers of natural beauty. Around the half-way point you’ll reach a side trail that you can take to Cataract Falls. Taking a trip to the waterfall will add a mile to your adventure for the day but it’s one of the easiest waterfalls to view in the park.
3. Laurel Falls Trail
Do you love waterfalls but don’t want to take the family on a strenuous hike? Then check out Laurel Falls while you’re in town. The trailhead is located on Little River Road and it’s one of the most popular trails in the park, so be sure to arrive early. Taking advantage of an evening trip up to the falls is also a great way to avoid the heaviest crowd. The trail is paved but the pavement is not smooth so strollers are not recommended. The trek to Laurel Falls is just a bit over 2 miles roundtrip. If you’re in need of a carrier for a toddler or baby you can rent one for the day at the NOC in Gatlinburg. They’re located near the park entrance and the staff is always very helpful and eager to make sure that you have a safe and enjoyable time in the Smokies.
4. Little River Trail
The Elkmont section of the Great Smoky Mountains was one of the very first vacation destinations in the national park. Taking your family for a walk around Daisy Town and for a hike up Little River Trail is a wonderful way to spend time together and take a trip through the history of the Smokies. Little River Trail is an old railroad bed making the trail wide and with an easy incline. Spending a morning or afternoon on the trail comes with the opportunity to take in the tranquility and beauty of Little River due to following the water for most of the trail. If you hike 2.2 miles up the trail you’ll reach Huskey Branch Falls, a 20-foot cascade. Many families choose this as their turn around spot but the length for the entire trial is right around 6 miles. Pick your distance and enjoy your time along one of the Smoky Mountains most loved trails.
Are you ready to start exploring the trails of the Smoky Mountains with your family? Our Sevierville Hotel is the perfect place for you to call your home away from home during your family vacation! View our guest rooms to find the right fit for your family and we hope to see you soon!
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