Top 5 Family-Friendly Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails

Beautiful sunset photo in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Smoky Mountain hiking trails are full of gorgeous mountain, river, and wooded views as well as remnants from previous eras! You and your family can learn about the rich history of the Smokies while you reconnect with nature and each other. Here are 5 of the best family-friendly Smoky Mountain hiking trails.

1. Elkmont Nature Trail

Happy family on a hike in the woods.If you’re looking for a short and easy hike, the Elkmont Nature Trail is the one for you! This self-guided walk is a little less than a mile long and great for all skill levels. While you’re on the trail, you’ll have a variety of opportunities to learn about the Elkmont Area and the forest ecosystem. There are also beautiful wildflowers that bloom along the path at certain times of the year.

2. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

This Smoky Mountain hiking trail is only a half-mile loop, so it’s perfect if you are introducing your kids to hiking. The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is partially paved, making it wheelchair and stroller accessible. There are also numerous places where you can peek through the woods and see beautiful river views.

3. The Gatlinburg Trail

The Gatlinburg Trail travels 1.9 miles one-way from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city. It is also one of two trails in the national park that allows pets and bicycles. In addition to bicyclists, this trail is also a favorite among joggers and walkers. It is relatively flat, making it easy for people of all hiking levels. It runs through the forest alongside the Little Pigeon River as well, so you and your family can enjoy gorgeous views of the sparkling water.

4. Laurel Falls

laurel falls in the smoky mountainsFor a fun-filled day in the Smokies, take a hike on the Laurel Falls Trail! This 2.6-mile round trip hike is one of the most popular in the national park. It features a gorgeous, multi-tiered waterfall, standing at about 80 feet tall! It’s a 2-hour hike to the waterfall and back, but sometimes it can take a little longer if you choose to take a rest stop at the falls. There is a walkway that crosses the stream at the base of the upper section. It’s a great spot for photo-ops of the family!

5. Porters Creek Trail

This wooded hike along Porters Creek is fun for the whole family! At the one-mile mark, you’ll come to a historic farm site. As you walk by, you’ll see John Messer’s cantilevered barn that was built in 1875. Then you’ll come to the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin, built from 1934 to 1936. If you continue on from here for another mile, you’ll reach the base of the waterfall!

No trip to the Smokies is complete without a hike, and we would love to share more of our favorite trails when you visit. Start planning your next family vacation and browse our selection of rooms and suites in Gatlinburg. We look forward to seeing you and your family at Black Bear Inn & Suites!