Great Smoky Mountains National Park | HIKING TRAILS


There are over 800 miles of trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so hiking every mile is beyond the scope of the National Park Planner project. I did, however, hike nearly 100 miles with at least one hike done in each of the different regions around the park. Thus, no matter where you are, you have a suggestion for a day-hike and a first-hand account of the trail’s difficulty and what you will see along the way. There are 700 more miles to hike, so be sure to pick up a map and plan some of your own routes as well. You can download a PDF trail map here (Smoky-Trail-Map) or purchase a printed copy at any of the four Visitor Centers in the park.

The above map shows the starting location for each of my hikes. On the hike’s web page (links below) is a detailed map of the route, unless it’s a simple out-and-back hike where no map is needed.

Horses are allowed on designated trails, but no other pets are allowed on any of the trails other than the Oconaluftee River Trail near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and the Gatlinburg Trail near the Sugarlands Visitor Center.


Big Creek Trail to Mouse Creek Falls
Easy, 4.2-mile, round-trip hike to Mouse Creek Falls. Probably the easiest hike to a waterfall in the park.


Abrams Falls – Hannah Mountain – Rabbit Creek Loop Hike
11.9-mile hike passes Abrams Falls, one of the prettiest waterfalls in the park. Difficulty ranges from easy to strenuous, all depending on which segment of the hike you are on.


Boogerman-Caldwell Fork Loop Trail
Mostly moderate, 7.8-mile loop trail with three creek crossings that require wading.


Clingmans Dome Overlook Trail
Steep, strenuous, paved path leads to an observation tower where you get the best views in the park. Round trip is 1.2 miles.

Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald
Moderate, 3.8-mile round-trip hike to great views at Andrews Bald.


Low Gap Trail – Appalachian Trail – Snake Den Ridge Trail Loop Hike
Moderate, 13.5-mile loop with some strenuous climbs. Begins at the Cosby Campground.

Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls
Trail runs from the Cosby Campground for 6.6 miles to the intersection with the Maddron Bald Trail. However, most people hiking it are only interested in seeing Hen Wallow Falls, which is just 2.2 miles from the campground.


Deep Creek Loop Trail
4.9-mile hike along the Deep Creek, Indian Creek, Loop, and Deep Creek Horse trails. Passes three waterfalls along the way.


Laurel Falls Trail to Laurel Falls
2.6-mile round-trip hike to Laurel Falls from Fighting Creek Gap Road.


Lakeshore Trail to Old Cars
Hike two miles, one way, to see five old Ford cars from the early to mid-1930s.


Bull Head Trail
One of the most beautiful trails in the park, this 6-mile trail leads to the top of Mount LeConte.

Noah “Bud” Ogle Nature Trail
1-mile loop trail through the Ogle Homestead, which includes an original cabin, grist mill, and barn.

Rainbow Falls Trail
The trail is 6.7 miles, one-way, but the waterfall is located only 2.6 miles from the start, a 5.2-mile round-trip hike.

Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls
It is a 2.8-mile hike to the falls and back.


Grapeyard Ridge Trail to Nichols and Shepard Steam Engine Wreck
Easy to moderate, 6-mile round-trip hike to the wreck of a Nichols and Shepard stream traction engine from the 1920s.

Porters Creek Trail to Fern Branch Falls
Easy to moderate 4.5-mile round-trip hike passes the stone walls of a former homestead, the John Messer Barn, the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club Cabin, the Ownby Cemetery, and Fern Branch Waterfall.


Goldmine – Forney Creek – Lakeshore Loop Hike
Easy to very strenuous 10.5-mile double loop hike formed from multiple trails in the area : Lakeshore Trail, Whiteoak Branch Trail, Forney Creek Trail, Goldmine Loop Trail, and the Tunnel Bypass Trail.


Oconaluftee River Trail
Easy 3.6-mile round-trip hike open to hikers and bikers.

Smokemont Loop Trail
Easy to moderate 6.1-mile loop trail open to hikers only.


West Prong Trail
4.4-mile round trip to Backcountry Campsite #18 and the scenic West Prong Little River

Middle Prong Trail
4.1 mile trail, but only .7 mile to scenic cascades and waterfalls


Twenty Mile Loop Trail
An 8-mile loop that is made of the Wolf Ridge Trail, the Twentymile Loop Trail, and the Twentymile Trail. This easy to moderate hike follows two creeks and passes numerous picturesque cascades.

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Last updated on February 16, 2021
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