Best Hiking Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Founded in 1934, The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the largest national park east of the Rocky Mountains.  One of the few to offer free admission, it is the most visited park in the country. What better way to experience the natural beauty the park has to offer than by hiking?  Here are some of the best hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With more than 150 trails within the park alone, there are plenty of adventures waiting for you!

1. Gatlinburg Trailhead

Gatlinburg Trailhead

A great place for the entire family to hike is the Gatlinburg Trail.  This 4 miles round-trip trail is rated easy and is handicap accessible.  It is also the only trail in the national park that allows dogs and bicycles.  The trail runs from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River.

2. Trail to the Little Greenbrier School

This trail is rated easy, making it ideal for the entire family.  It starts on Little River Road in Gatlinburg, at the Metcalf Bottoms parking lot.  Not only will you experience natural beauty on this hike, you’ll also see a bit of history.  Along the trail, you’ll find Walker Sister’s Cabin and the Little Greenbrier School, which is listed on the National Registration of Historic Places.

3. Clingman’s Dome

An easy to moderate hike that you want to add to your list is Clingman’s Dome.  As the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Clingman’s Dome is a very popular place to visit.  A paved road leads to the 54 foot observation tower.

4. Rainbow Falls

This moderate hike is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the national park.  The trail is named for the rainbow that is formed by mist on sunny days. This 5.4 mile round trip hike will bring you to Rainbow Falls, which are said to be the highest single drop waterfall in the park.  Just another 4.2 miles beyond the falls, and you’ll reach the summit of Mount LeConte.

5. Chimney Tops

The Chimney Tops are two 1,300 feet tall slate-rock pinnacles.  The trail at Chimney Tops is a rigorous, four mile-long hike that is rated as difficult. This hike offers incredible panoramic views of Sugarland Mountain, Mount LeConte and Mount Mingus.  There’s no wonder why this is one of the most popular hikes in the Smokies.

There are so many exciting trails in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, you are sure to find one the whole family will enjoy.  You may even need a few more days to explore them all! What better way to rest after an exciting hike than in a comfortable, relaxing room at Willow Brook Lodge?  We invite you to see for yourself why we offer the best lodging in Pigeon Forge.  

Come as our guest.  Leave as our family.