There’s no better way to experience the beauty of the Smokies than to hike right through them! Whether you’re traveling through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or one of the numerous national forests nearby, there are plenty of trails for you to choose from! To help you plan for your trip, here are some of the top places to go hiking in the Smokies near our campground.
1. Gabes Mountain Trail
Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls is a 4.3-mile roundtrip and is considered to be moderate in difficulty, making it a great choice for families with older children or teens. On your way to the falls, you’ll walk through a beautiful hemlock and rhododendron forest. The waterfall is located on a short side trail off Gabes Mountain Trail, which is indicated by a wooden sign. This short trail is somewhat steep, so be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes for the way down. The waterfall itself is 90 feet tall, and if you look carefully at the base of it, you can often find salamanders!
2. Big Creek Trail
When hiking to Mouse Creek Falls, Big Creek Trail is about a 4-mile roundtrip that takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. This trail is considered to be relatively easy and offers a variety of activities in addition to hiking like birding, horseback riding, and more. At around 1.4 miles into your hike, you’ll pass by Midnight Hole, a deep, picturesque pool below a 6-foot falls. A little after the 2-mile mark, there will be a short side trail on the left which will lead you to a bench where you can rest and enjoy the views of Mouse Creek Falls. The waterfall is on the far side of Big Creek and 45 feet tall!
3. Ramsey Cascades Trail
This trail is a little over an 8-mile roundtrip and is one that hikers looking for a challenge are sure to enjoy! As you hike along the Ramsey Cascades Trail, you’ll gain over 2,000 feet in elevation! For the last couple of miles, you’ll be passing through an old-growth cove hardwood forest. Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ll be able to spot silverbells, tulip trees, and other native plant species in full bloom! At 100 feet tall, Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park. So, once you’ve arrived, you’ll probably want to stop for a few pictures before heading back.
4. Cherokee National Forest
Each year millions of people visit the Cherokee National Forest for its scenic beauty. It’s home to over 600 miles of non-motorized trails as well as nearly 150 miles the Appalachian National Scenic Trail! With so many different trails to choose from, it’s easy to spend an entire day there!
5. Pisgah National Forest
The Pisgah National Forest has over 500,000 acres filled with heavily forested slopes, whitewater rivers, and waterfalls! There are around 1,600 miles of trails offering everything from short, easy walks to long-distance adventures. One great place to hike to is Max Patch, which is a bald offering a gorgeous panorama of the surrounding natural area. There are also several other trails in the immediate vicinity.
Now that you know where to go for all the best hiking in the Smokies, it’s time to start planning your trip! Be sure to check out our hiking page for more information about where to go and what to expect.