Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, the Smoky Mountains are an ideal place to unleash your inner outdoor-enthusiast. In fact, the region’s trails frequently appear in leading hiking magazines and websites, such as Outside and Backpacker. Here’s a breakdown of eight of the more popular trails near Pigeon Forge — including several waterfall trails, the famous Clingmans Dome Observatory trail, and more.
Alum Cave Trail
The scenic, rhododendron-fringed Alum Cave Trail, on Mount LeConte, includes rocky steps, archways, and an unusual bluff. (Beware of falling icicles in winter.) The 10-mile, 2,942-foot trail additionally boasts an interesting history, having formerly been a mine for epsom salts.
Rainbow Falls Trail
The 5.5-mile, 1,653-foot Rainbow Falls trail is known for wildlife, its vast boulder field, and its assortment of falls, including smaller cascades falls along with the namesake.
Grotto Falls Trail
One of the more moderate trails, 2.6-mile, 534-foot Grotto Falls offers multiple falls, beautiful flowers in spring — such as whiteviolets and yellow trillium — and lush greenery.
Porters Creek Trail
The flower-dotted four-mile Porters Creek Trail, reaching an elevation of 699 feet, comprises stretches of forest, roads, and even a portion of a former farmstead beside a cemetery.
One of the park’s only dog-friendly rails, the generally flat 3.9-mile Gatlinburg Trail boasts cascades, long wooden footbridges, and direct access to the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
The short path to Clingmans Dome runs along a creek and forest before reaching the famed observatory, the highest point in the national park and eastern Tennessee.
Cades Cove Loop
Cades Cove Loop’s 11-mile trail houses not just verdant greenery and dramatic rock formations, but abundant wildlife and historic sites, including a working grist mill.
Ramsey Cascades Loop
The Ramsey Cascades Loop reaches the tallest waterfall in the park via a path dotted with creeks, footbridges, and old-growth oak and maple trees.
Hit the Trails
Ready to explore these magnificent hiking trails for yourself? Check out our four sister hotels in Pigeon Forge by visiting www.ExploreSmokies.com.