The Smokies offer a wide variety of hiking opportunities. Some of the most popular are:
Alum Caves Trail – is 4.4 miles round-trip, and is rated moderate. It offers a spectacular view of the Little Pigeon River’s upper basin and includes Arch Rock, Inspiration Point, and the Alum Caves Bluff. The trail continues on the Mt. LeConte, covering 10 miles round-trip.
Andrew’s Bald – is a 3.6-mile round-trip hike. It heads downslope to a bald and offers excellent views to the south.
Chimney Tops – is a strenuous 4.0-mile hike. The first mile is relatively easy, then requires a 600 – yard climb to the chimneys. Once there, the view is worth the trip.
Clingman’s Dome Tower – is an easy 1-mile hike. It is a wide, paved course that is accessible to a stroller or wheelchair. At the summit, you will be on the second highest peak east of the Mississippi.
Charlies Bunion – is a strenuous hike of 8 miles round-trip. It offers excellent views, following the Appalachian Trail along the state-line ridge.
Almost every stream in the Smokies has a waterfall. All but one require hiking to see, and the hikes range from easy to strenuous. Some of the best know falls include
Laurel Falls – is the easiest waterfall hike in the park. It follows a paved trail for 2.5 miles, round-trip. Laurel Falls is 60 feet high.
Grotto Falls – off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, is 2.4 miles round-trip. It is the only waterfall in the park you can walk behind.
Chasteen Creek Falls – is a small but graceful fall, a 4-mile round-trip moderate hike out of the Smokemont campground.
Indian Creek Falls – is 1.5 miles round-trip hike. The falls slide down 35 feet of sloping rock strata
Henwallow Falls – is near Cosby Campground and follows a 4.4-mile round-trip trail of moderate difficulty. The falls are 45 feet
Abrams Falls – has the largest water volume of any falls in the park. It is a moderate hike of 5 miles round-trip, beginning in the back of the Cades Cove Loop.
Ramsey Cascades – is a strenuous 8-mile hike beginning in the Greenbrier area. The falls tumble over 100 feet in a spectacular setting.
The hikes listed above are only some suggestions. Maps and more complete guides to hiking the Smokies can be purchased at Visitor Centers or the Happy Hiker on River Rd just before you enter the National Park at traffic light #10 in downtown Gatlinburg.
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