The Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountains, have a wide range of elevations, making them home to over 400 vertebrate species, 100 tree species, and 5000 plant species. Hiking is the park's main attraction, with over 800 miles (1,300 km) of trails, including 70 miles (110 km) of the Appalachian Trail. Other activities are fishing, horseback riding, and visiting some of nearly 80 historic structures.
Depending where you start. Main trailhead is in Cherokee NC and goes for 20 miles. Peak is usually busy with a lot of people during the weekends. Trail is well maintained overall for a busy trail such as this. Looking forward to the spring to climb again.
My 12 year old son and I did this last Saturday. It is my favorite hike so far. The trail runs along the river for the majority of it with at least 4 waterfalls during the hike. Steady incline but worth every step. We were also able to find the 1920's Cadillac and an old chimney on the way. This is a pretty rocky trail so I suggest trekking poles. They help with the rocks and the two creek crossings (very shallow). We passed several hikers on this trail, so it is very popular. I loved it so much I'm doing it again next weekend. Enjoy!