One of the most popular day-hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the unpaved Alum Cave Trail offers options for every type of hiker. And it's no wonder why. Dress in layers and be sure to bring a jacket, even in summer. Located on the North Carolina side of the park about a twenty minute drive away from Cherokee, Deep Creek campground is the beginning of several great long hikes, but also offers the highest wpm (waterfall per mile) trail in the park. There are over 800 miles of trails, and a large section of the Appalachian Trail in the park as well as 80 historic structures. Free park road maps can be downloaded below … From here, you will be rewarded with views of Little Duck Hawk Ridge and The Eye of the Needle, as well as Myrtle Point on Mt. Service animals must be on-leash throughout the park. There are over 800 miles of trails, and a large section of the Appalachian Trail in the park as well as 80 historic structures. It's easy to follow, but nearly constant incline with pretty rugged terrain. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited. Additional accessible trails and facilities information can be found here: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm. There is no fee to enter the park, but camping is $14-23 per night. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a major tourist attraction in the region. Kane’s “Get on the Trail” hikes take place every Wednesday in April and October. Within the park boundaries you'll find more than 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the LeConte Lodge, close to 800 miles of trails, front and backcountry camping, an abundance of wildlife and wildflowers, history in every corner, and 2,100 miles of streams to play in. In large part due to the highly varied elevations in the park, there is a wide range of plant and animal species. For more information, please see https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/operating-dates.htm You can also get updates on conditions at https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/chimney-tops.htm Be sure to allow plenty of time to complete your hike before dark. The Smokies look gorgeous from the road—but you can only experience a small fraction of the park from the pavement. If you’re wondering what trail you should hike when you come to the Smoky Mountains, we can help. In about one mile a hiker can see Juney Whunk, Indian Creek, and Tom Branch falls. Note: Users have reported that the last portion of the trail is closed due to fire damage. At certain times of the year, it will be extremely crowded. Once you get to the Spring, keep on going for about 20 minutes to arrive at Charlies bunion. Start by deciding on what you would like to see. Great Smoky Mountain National Park was America's number one most visited national park in 2017, with more than 11 million visitors. Particularly in the backcountry, trail conditions change often depending on the weather. Hiking – Great Smoky Mountains National Park maintains 800 miles of trails inside the park Hiking Trails range from moderate to strenuous, and some are accessible. If visiting in winter months, be prepared to park outside the closure and walk 2 miles to the trailhead. Beware of parking lot thieves who break into cars parked at trailheads to steal purses, cameras, and electronic equipment. Great Smoky Mountains National Park Trails. Get out there and explore! The road ends in a large parking area from which a 0.5 mile trail leads to the summit. GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hiring for its seasonal trail maintenance staff. This trail is quite a bit more difficult that it appears. Expect crowds throughout the year, although winter hikes will be less crowded. Though the trail is paved, the pavement is rough and broken so can be rough for wheelchairs and strollers in sections. It was the most visited national park in 2019, with over 12.5 million recreational visitors (tourists). The Sugarlands and Oconaluftee Visitor Centers are wheelchair/mobility equipment accessible and have wheelchair-accessible bathrooms and a drinking fountain. Operated by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountains Association, proceeds generated by purchases at the store are donated to educational, scientific, and historical projects in the park. Along your hike, you’ll cross water on log bridges and even go through a narrow tunnel through Arch Rock. Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park can provide a day of fun, but it’s also important to take precaution and put safety first. Then decide how far you would like to hike. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s certainly not among the easiest: There’s close to 1,500 feet of elevation gain, though the hard grade’s eased a bit by stairs in places. They’re self-guiding, and some even have brochures that point out the many things to notice. For seasonal info see: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/hours.htm Roundtrip Length: 8 miles Location: Greenbrier This is one of my new favorite hikes. Besides the trail to the summit, there are several trails that start on Clingmans Dome Road and parking area. The park has over 800 miles of trails and it would take years of constant hiking to cover it all. The trail is paved but steep, and leads to an observation tower on top. Hiking Trails of the Smokies covers all 150 official trails in the park with in-depth narratives and profile charts that show mileage, elevation change, and major stream crossings. Looking for a great trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee? Featured here are selected hikes ranging in difficulty from the easy to the challenging–for the young to the elderly. The Hike the Smokies and Hike the Smokies--For Families programs offer you a chance to earn mileage pins and stickers! No surprise, then, that the 3.8-mile (R/T) Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is a popular trail, so you will likely be in the company of other hikers. Visit the Association's online bookstore or phone (888) 898-9102. When choosing your route, check the Backcountry section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page to determine if the trail you are considering is open and that there are no warnings or special notices posted for it. Bear spray must contain between 1% to 2% of the active ingredients capsaicin and related capsaicinoids. Day Hikes of the Smokies covers 34 of the best day hikes in the park, plus all of the self-guiding nature trails. Always check online before your hike to be sure the trails you want to visit are open and safe. https://www.alltrails.com/explore/trail/us/tennessee/myrtle-point-and-mount-leconte-via-alum-cave-trail. Parking lot gets full early. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. The only difficulties are numerous rocks and roots that just require you to watch your step. #8 - Charlies Bunion via Appalachian Trail. The highlight is Grotto Falls, under which the trail continues. Dogs and pets are not permitted in Great Smokey Mountains National Park. This trailhead is accessed by Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which is closed during the winter. Try one of the following: Three campgrounds have wheelchair-accessible campsites. The area is especially busy on weekends year-round and on weekdays during summer. It does have roots and rocks. Le Conte is the third highest peak inside the park but it is also the “tallest” mountain in the eastern United States when measured from its base at Gatlinburg, 5301 feet to the mountain’s summit, called “High Top.” Waterfalls? Pace yourself, as the second mile is steeper than the first with almost 1000 feet of elevation gain in the last mile alone. Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park's official online store for other books, maps, and guides to the park. The National Park Service Department of … Although Clingmans Dome is open year-round, the road leading to it is closed from December 1 through March 31, and whenever weather conditions require. Note: The park closes the Cades Cove Loop Road to motor vehicle traffic all day on Wednesdays between early May and late September of each year, to allow cyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove. Lots of wildlife. The Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses Clingmans Dome, marking the highest point along its journey from Georgia to Maine. Reservations and permits are required for all overnight stays in the park's backcountry. The office is open daily from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Lace up your hiking boots and get ready to see a whole new side of the Smokies on these amazing trips from 4 to 11 miles round trip. Endless views? The Great Smoky Mountains Association is a nonprofit organization that supports educational and scientific programs in the park. Maps Vehicle Navigation Systems and GPS units may provide inaccurate information in the mountains—sending drivers the wrong way on one-way roads or leading them to dead ends in remote areas. Temporary disabled parking permits are available at the visitor centers. Includes shaded relief maps for each hike plus accurate elevation profile charts. It must be commercially manufactured and labeled as "Bear Pepper Spray" and be registered with the Environmental Protection Agency and individual states. This trail begins with a mild incline along Alum Cave Creek and the Styx Branch. Info; Alerts; Maps; Calendar; Reserve ; Alerts In Effect Dismiss Dismiss View all alerts × Contact Us. Drive to and park at Newfound Gap. A camping trip is all about enjoying the outdoors. The trail is 5 miles long and is well traveled by more than a thousand people every day. #17 of 69 Outdoor Activities in Great Smoky Mountains National Park "The Middle Prong Trail begins at the end of the gravel road going out the back of Tremont and terminates in 4.1 miles at a junction with Lynn Camp Prong Trail and Greenbrier Ridge Trail." Here's our definitive guide to hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including a trail map of the national park, links and resources, most popular trails - AND the hidden gems, easy strolls, nature trails and best hikes. For the most part, the trail is tree covered, but there are a few views on the way to the Ice Water Spring-AT shelter. The Mountain Farm Museum and Mingus Mill have packed gravel paths so assistance may be needed for those with mobility challenges. Download a copy of the park's trail map or purchase one from the Great Smoky Mountains Association which also sells a wide variety of hiking books, maps, and guides to help choose a hiking route and plan your backcountry trip. Includes information on all backcountry campsites, shelters, regulations and permit/reservation information. The hike itself is a beaut with old growth all over the place. To learn more about hiking in the Smokies and what the park has to offer, including our list of the top 10 hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as many other hiking and travel related articles, tips and recommendations, please visit our About GSMNP page. Each are as large as other more famous falls like Grotto, Laurel, and Abrams. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Families with kids can pack drinking water and hike in 2.3 miles through old-growth forests to the Alum Cave Bluffs, where you can sit under the overhang and enjoy views of the mountains before heading back. https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/hours.htm, https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/accessibility.htm, Peregrine Peak via Alum Cave Bluffs Trail, Myrtle Point and Mount LeConte via Alum Cave Trail. Nice hike along the summit of the Smokies, with views of Charlies Bunion. Kid-friendly hikes are an excellent way to learn and enjoy the outdoors. At the summit you can also purchase drinks and use the restroom. Great Smoky Mountains. This is definitely doable for the casual hiker or someone who doesn't hike normally and wants a really good workout. The Nature Trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are short and fairly easy trails developed by park rangers with the non-hiker in mind. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. Many people travel slower. Bear pepper spray is a chemical formula designed specifically to deter aggressive or attacking bears. The above five are only some of the lesser-trammeled paths of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: With better than 800 miles of trails, it’s not hard to track down some solitude. Explore the most popular trails in my list Great Smoky Mountains National Park 2020 with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews … More than a … Surrounding towns, notably Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Townsend, Tennessee, and Cherokee, Sylva, Maggie Valley, and Bryson City, North Carolina, receive a significant portion of their … The park has over 150 maintained hiking trails, offering more than 850 miles of hiking. Some of the comments in the AT logbook note that elk have been seen in this area. Important hiking safety tips. A highlight of this trail is Inspiration Point, where you’ll have incredible views! Five miles roundtrip is a good maximum distance for novices. #10 - Myrtle Point and Mount LeConte via Alum Cave Trail. A bike rack is located near the beginning of the paved trail to park bikes while walking to the top. You get to experience nature up close when you camp at Greenbrier Campground. Abrams Fall is a popular waterfall with a 25 foot drop over a rocky cliff beside it. It’s a more lengthy hike, but I like how it is not as crowded as some of the other ones on the list. LeConte. The trail gets a lot of use. Operated by the nonprofit Great Smoky Mountains Association, proceeds generated by purchases at the store are donated to educational, scientific, and historical projects in the park. It's seven miles to the end of Clingmans Dome Road and there are scenic pullouts with endless views of ridges and valleys along the way. You will need to bring a lock with you to secure your bike. Only Mt. Ramsey Cascades is quite impressive. Pets and bicycles are not permitted on the paved trail to the observation tower, or on any other trails in the area. A moderate trail at 4.4 miles roundtrip, Alum Cave is a great fall hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Ready for some activity? An additional table at the bottom of the page lists trails that are known for spectacular wildflower displays. At 1.3 miles you will get to Arch Rock, one of the trail's prominent landmarks. Sunset times vary from just after 5:00 p.m. in December to almost 9:00 p.m. in June. Each of the Smoky Mountain trails listed below have been grouped by the predominate feature for each trail, based on the following criteria: trails with scenic views, waterfalls, trails along streams, and various/other features. Clouds, precipitation, and cold temperatures are common at Clingmans Dome. Hiking Trails in Great Smoky Mountains. Proper preparation is essential for a good visit. Gatlinburg, TN The trail continues onto a side trail about a mile north of the shelter. The shelter is one of the nicer structures along the AT in North Carolina. An easy to moderate hike that is popular with families. National Park NC, TN. You can continue to hike up to Myrtle Point following this route: Included with each hike description are directions to the departure point and a detailed map to guide you. Accessibility: The Interagency Access Pass for free or discounted admission for US Citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities is accepted here. With its forested ridge upon ridge separating North Carolina and Tennessee, the park is beautiful year-round. Participants will have the chance to hike one of the well-known trails in the national park. The best defense is to lock your car and take your valuables with you, or leave them at home. We know how much our campers love visiting the national park, so we put together a list of our favorite Great Smoky Mountains National Park hiking trails for campers to enjoy.. 1. The trail is well maintained. Mt. Due to the spectacular views and short length, this is one of the more popular hikes on Newfound Gap Road, but that doesn't mean it isn't steep! Unfortunately, air pollution often limits viewing distances to under 20 miles. The trail passes right under the natural arch making a great vantage point for photos. Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. Past Alum Cave, at the peak of Mount LeConte is the LeConte Lodge where you can stay in one of the primitive cabins that are the only formal lodging in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. The most wheelchair accessible amphitheater is at Cade’s Cove and it also has accessible restrooms. Temperatures at the dome can be 10 -20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than in the surrounding lowlands. The trail to Charlies Bunion isn't marked, so follow signs for the Applachian Trail and Icewater Spring. Please see the Roaring Fork webpage for more information: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/roaringfork.htm, #6 - Peregrine Peak via Alum Cave Bluffs Trail, #7 - Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail. Top Great Smoky Mountains National Park Hiking Trails: See reviews and photos of hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee on Tripadvisor. Trails › National Parks › Great Smoky Mountains. The arch's interesting geological features were formed when wind and water eroded away the softer rock. It sleeps 12, but a permit and reservation are required through the Park Service. Read more about my hike to Ramsey Cascades. I did, however, hike nearly 100 miles with at least one hike done in each of the different regions around the park. In addition to answering your backpacking questions, the experienced backpackers in the Backcountry Information Office can provide you with tips to make your trip safe and enjoyable. As a rule of thumb, hikers in the Smokies travel about 1.5 miles per hour. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has over 800 miles of trail and more than 500,000 acres of land. It's also renowned for its plant and animal life, as well as the Southern Appalachian mountain culture. In fact, the cool, wet conditions on Clingmans Dome's summit make the spruce-fir forest that grows there a coniferous rainforest. Accessed via the Trillium Gap Trailhead, this is a cool, well-shaded hike with gentle elevation gains. Bear pepper spray may be carried by hikers within Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the strict purpose of protection against bodily harm from aggressive wildlife. Hiking with children? Ramsey Cascades In large part due to the highly varied elevations in the park, there is a wide range of plant and animal species. For 20 years, Kane has been leading hikes for visitors and locals alike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 37738, Reservations and permits are required for all overnight stays. There are routes for all levels of abilities, from short paved trails to steep, backcountry routes of several days. The trail continues after the waterfall and is much less trafficked at that point, so feel free to continue your hike if you like. Whether you’re looking for an easy hike or something more challenging, there is a trail for everyone! The trail starts off with a gradual ascent of about 300 feet in the first mile. "The trail is a gentle grade for the first part as it is another logging railbed." AllTrails has 325 great hiking trails, trail running trails, forest trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Reward yourself for getting out on the park's 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. The recreational figure represents nearly twice as many tourists as the Grand Canyon, which received nearly 6 million visitors the same year. This is a large rock out cropping created years ago by a fire, rain and subsequent landslide. 6 Day Hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are wheelchair accessible Ranger-led programs listed in the Smokies Guide newspaper. There are 143 moderate trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park ranging from 1.3 to 52.6 km and from 337 to 2,026 meters above sea level. Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park's official online store for other books, maps, and guides to the park. The Great Smoky Mountains is in the Appalachian Mountains and is America's most visited National Park. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360 views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top. Visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park's official online store for other books, maps, and guides to the park. At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Thinking about a multi-day backpacking trip? However some secondary roads, campgrounds, and other visitor facilities close in winter. If you haven't hiked much recently, be conservative. Author: Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan Publish date: Feb 28, 2019. The Forney Ridge Trail leads to Andrews Bald, a high-elevation grassy bald. This trail is well marked and goes left to Charlies Bunion. With more than 850 miles of trails to explore, hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the best ways to explore the area. Abrams Falls is one of the most popular trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Whatever you level of hiking skills, you may choose from more than 800 miles of trails. On clear days views expand over a 100 miles. Expect other hikers. 107 Park Headquarters Road Be aware that thieves may be in the parking area watching as you slip your wallet into the glove box or "hide" your laptop under a blanket. Old-growth forests? This trail is marked hard but note that most of the incline isn’t steep. It should not be applied to people, tents, packs, other equipment or surrounding area as a repellent. One of the most daunting tasks facing hikers is choosing a trail. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Head to Mount Le Conte for the best sunrise and sunset vistas in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 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