The Great Smoky Mountains are a hiker’s paradise, offering stunning views, an abundance of wildlife, and trails of varying difficulty levels.

Whether you’re a novice hiker looking for an easy trail to get started on or an experienced hiker seeking a challenge, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Here are some of the best hiking trails the park has to offer.

1. Alum Cave Trail

Alum Cave Trail is a moderate 5-mile roundtrip hike that leads to one of the park’s most popular landmarks—Alum Cave Bluffs.

Along the way, hikers will be treated to views of spectacular rock formations and a 40-foot waterfall.

2. Andrews Bald

Andrews Bald is a relatively easy 3-mile roundtrip hike that leads to an open meadow with stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

This is a great trail for wildflower enthusiasts, as the bald is blanketed with blooms in mid-summer.

3. Chimney Tops Trail

Chimney Tops Trail is a strenuous 4-mile roundtrip hike that culminates in panoramic views from the summit of Chimney Tops Mountain.

This trail should only be attempted by experienced hikers in good physical condition, as it features several steep sections with loose rocks.

4. Cucumber Gap Loop Trail

Cucumber Gap Loop Trail is an easy 6-mile loop hike that takes hikers through old-growth forests and past cascading waterfalls.

This is a great option for families with small children or anyone looking for a leisurely stroll through some of the park’s most beautiful scenery.

5. Forney Ridge Trail

Forney Ridge Trail is a moderate 8-mile roundtrip hike that provides hikers with stunning views of mountain vistas and wildflowers galore.

This trail also offers opportunities to see wildlife, including black bears, deer, and elk.

6. Gly Gap Trail

Gly Gap Trail is a strenuous 11-mile roundtrip hike along Deep Creek that leads hikers to three different waterfalls—Juney Whank Falls, Tom Branch Falls, and Indian Flats Falls.

7. Hankins Group Campground Trail

Hankins Group Campground Trail is an easy 1/2-mile loop hike through mixed hardwood forest.

8. Mount LeConte via Alum Cave Bluffs Trailhead

Mount LeConte via Alum Cave Bluffs Trailhead is a strenuous 12-mile roundtrip hike to the summit of Mount LeConte—the third-highest peak in the park.

9. Rainbow Falls Trail

Rainbow Falls Trail is a moderate 5 1/2 -mile roundtrip hike that leads to one of the park’s most popular destinations—Rainbow Falls—an 80-foot cascade waterfall.

10. Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls

Trillium Gap Trail to Grotto Falls is an easy 3-mile roundtrip hike that culminates at Grotto Falls—the only waterfall in the park where you can walk behind the cascade.


The Great Smoky Mountains offer something for everyone, from novice hikers just starting out to experienced climbers seeking a challenge.

With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which trail to tackle first. But with this list of must-do hikes, you’re sure to find one (or two…or ten) that suit your interests and abilities.

So, what are you waiting for? Grab your hiking boots and hit the trail!