There’s no better way to experience the great outdoors of East Tennessee than to go hiking in the mountains. At Pigeon River Campground, we are located in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and only a few minutes away from several forests, including the Pisgah National Forest. There’s definitely plenty of hiking trails and mountains to climb during your Smoky Mountain camping trip!
Hiking in the Smoky Mountains
Pigeon River Campground sits only a few short minutes from the beautiful hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most visited national park, welcoming over 10 million visitors each year. With over 800 miles of hiking trails in the national park, there’s definitely a trail for everyone, whether you’re a beginner or an avid hiker. Known for its plant and wildlife diversity, there’s always something new to see when you are out and about on the trails–everything from Smoky Mountain black bears to fresh wildflowers.
Cosby Entrance (within 10 minutes): the beautiful Hen Wallow Falls located on the Gabes Mountain Trail.
Waterville: Big Creek Trail, with highlights such as Midnight Hole, a gorgeous swimming spot, and Mouse Creek Falls.
Greenbrier: For a half-day wilderness experience, drive a scenic 24 miles to the Greenbrier entrance and tackle Ramsey Cascades, a challenging 4-mile (one-way) trail, which ends at the highest accessible waterfall in the National Park – 90’.
Hiking in the State and National Forests
Martha Sundquist State Forest, the Cherokee National Forest, and Pisgah National Forest are located only a few minutes from the Pigeon River Campground. Recreational use of Forests falls under different guidelines from that of the National Park. You can take your dogs, and mountain bike on forest roads! These are predominately hardwood forests, with miles of trails, waterfalls, and large rivers. If you’re looking to experience hiking that’s a bit different than the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, one of the neighboring forests is great place to spend a day.
Martha Sundquist State Forest: Tennessee Gulf Trail – The Tennessee Gulf Trail follows Brown Gap Creek from the northwestern to the southeastern corners of this 2,000 acre cove hardwood forest.
Cherokee National Forest: The Appalachian Scenic Trail can be accessed here.
Pisgah National Forest: Max Patch – Max Patch is a “bald”, the Southern Appalachian name for a hilltop without a single tree, resulting in an awe-inspiring 360 degree view. The Appalachian Trail crosses the summit of Max Patch, and there are several other trails in the immediate vicinity.