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The Best Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the most beloved national parks in the United States. With its lush forests, majestic mountain peaks, and breathtaking views, the Smokies are the perfect destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Whether you’re looking for a short day hike or an extended backpacking trip, the Smokies offer a variety of trails to suit all skill levels. Here are some of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains.

Newfound Gap Trail

The Newfound Gap Trail is a 5.5-mile round-trip hike that takes you through the heart of the Smoky Mountains. This moderately strenuous trail offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys, as well as a chance to see some of the park’s abundant wildlife. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The trail culminates at Newfound Gap, the lowest elevation in the Smokies and one of the park’s most iconic views.

Alum Cave Trail

The Alum Cave Trail is a 5.5-mile round-trip hike that takes you through some of the park’s most spectacular scenery. The trail begins at the trailhead off of the Little River Road and follows a ridgeline for most of the hike. Along the way, you’ll pass through forests, cross several small streams, and climb a few steep switchbacks. The highlight of the hike is the 80-foot-high Alum Cave Bluffs, a rock formation that has been carved out by thousands of years of wind and water erosion.

Ramsey Cascades Trail

The Ramsey Cascades Trail is a 8.5-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the highest waterfall in the Smoky Mountains. The trail begins at the trailhead off of the Little River Road and follows a steep, rocky path for most of the way. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the 80-foot Ramsey Cascades waterfall, one of the park’s most spectacular views.

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Chimney Tops Trail

The Chimney Tops Trail is a 4-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the top of the iconic Chimney Tops peak. This moderately strenuous trail follows a rocky path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the views from the summit, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Mount Le Conte Trail

The Mount Le Conte Trail is a 11-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the summit of the park’s tallest peak. This strenuous trail follows a rocky path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the views from the summit, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Laurel Falls Trail

The Laurel Falls Trail is a 2.6-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the park’s most popular waterfall. This easy, family-friendly hike follows a mostly flat path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the 80-foot Laurel Falls waterfall, one of the park’s most popular waterfalls.

Andrews Bald Trail

The Andrews Bald Trail is a 3-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the highest grassy bald in the Smoky Mountains. This moderate hike follows a mostly flat path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the views from the bald, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

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Abrams Falls Trail

The Abrams Falls Trail is a 5-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the park’s most popular waterfall. This moderate hike follows a mostly flat path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the 20-foot Abrams Falls waterfall, one of the park’s most popular waterfalls.

Goshen Prong Trail

The Goshen Prong Trail is a 8-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the park’s highest waterfall. This strenuous hike follows a steep, rocky path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the 80-foot Goshen Prong Falls waterfall, one of the park’s most spectacular views.

Clingmans Dome Trail

The Clingmans Dome Trail is a 1-mile round-trip hike that takes you to the summit of the park’s highest peak. This easy, family-friendly hike follows a mostly flat path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the views from the summit, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Appalachian Trail

The Appalachian Trail is an iconic 2,200-mile-long hike that takes you from Georgia to Maine. The Smoky Mountains are home to a 71-mile section of the trail, which passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in the park. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Charlies Bunion Trail

The Charlies Bunion Trail is a 8-mile round-trip hike that takes you to one of the park’s most iconic views. This strenuous hike follows a steep, rocky path for most of the way, with a few short, steep climbs near the end. Along the way, you’ll pass through lush forests, cross a few creeks, and scale a few rocky outcrops. The highlight of the hike is the views from the summit, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

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Conclusion

The Great Smoky Mountains are one of the best destinations for hikers of all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a short day hike or an extended backpacking trip, the Smokies offer a variety of trails to suit all skill levels. From the easy family-friendly hikes to the strenuous backpacking trails, the Smokies are sure to have a hike to suit your needs. So, if you’re looking for some of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains, look no further!

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