Explore Great Smokies - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great Smokies Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Saw more people than I would have liked, but the views were amazing. Go all the way to Myrtle Point. If icy, crampons are worth carrying.

Good easy beginners hike. All paved with slow grade up. Waterfalls was just another proof of Gods handiwork!

Most beautiful trail in the park. If I could only do one this would be it for sure.

Beautiful hike!

Beautiful, easy hike through a quiet forest along a lovely river.

on Rainbow Falls Trail

hiking
7 days ago

Even though it was super cold it was still an awesome hike!!! Snowing at the falls and it was gorgous!!! Closer to the falls the ground and rock crossings were icy. But it was still a great hike!!!

Amazing trail. Paved all along the way and wasn't hard. As a novice hiker, this trail was a great start. Waterfall at the end was beautiful. Lots of people though so if you want that solidarity and personal experience, it won't happen. But still enjoyed it! Saw a cub up close too!!

Wife & I hiked this trail to the bluffs and back for a total distance of 4.6 miles. This was perhaps our favorite of all the trails we hiked in the park, not so much for the destination but for the trail itself.
The first segment of this hike is just delightful, with gorgeous views up and down Alum Cave Creek. We did this hike after a day of heavy rain, which made the creek particularly full and active – and scenic.
Nice, wide path from the trailhead all the way to the bluffs. Numerous crossings on bridges or sturdy footlogs. Climbing the rock stairway through Arch Rock is a unique experience. The last segment past Inspiration Point is rather steep.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the bluffs before heading back to the trailhead. Even though much of this trail is shaded, sunscreen is never a bad idea. And since the trail is near the creek much of the time, bug spray is advisable during the warmer months.
A couple of days later we drove past this trailhead and parking was INSANE! Dozens of cars lining both sides of the road in both directions! This is most definitely a situation where you’ll want to be at the trailhead early in the morning to avoid the crowds – and an extra half-mile walk from your car to the trailhead!

hiking
10 days ago

Wife & I did this hike after a day of heavy rain, and the falls were really pouring! Much heavier than in any of the photos we’d seen.
Also due to the rain, the several side stream crossings weren’t the easy rock hop they probably are under normal conditions. A couple of strategically placed footlogs – so common on other trails throughout the park – would be welcome here.
The trail was extremely muddy because of all the rain; even without the mud, this trail definitely shows signs of heavy use.
Encountered a young couple on the trail with their dog, and had to politely let them know that dogs aren’t allowed on most hiking trails within the park.
We were hoping to cross paths with the llama train, but no such luck.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the falls before heading back to the trailhead or on up to Le Conte Lodge. Even though much of this trail is shaded, sunscreen is never a bad idea. And bug spray is probably advisable during the warmer months.
Parking lot isn’t terribly large, so plan to arrive early or be prepared for a walk to the trailhead.

hiking
10 days ago

Wife & I did this hike after a day of heavy rain, and the falls were really pouring! Much heavier than in any of the photos we’d seen. Due to time limitations, we turned around at the falls rather than venturing farther down the trail to explore the old-growth forest.
Because the trail is paved due to heavy use, this hike can certainly be done in sneakers, although hiking boots to provide better traction are a good alternative.
Parking lot fills up fast, so arriving early is advised. No toilet at trailhead.

Great trail that isn’t too challenging with some great Mountain View’s.

9-29-17 one of the most beautiful trails out there. Cute log bridges and interesting features along the way. We sighted bear scat. At the top we had a foggy view but the smell of pine and lush flora made it more than worth it! We hit the trail very early and had some solitude at the way up- as always the further out you go the less people you see. Took us a little over 5 hours.

Gorgeous views from the tower. Very busy, lots of people when we were there. Concrete pathway with incline.

Best trail to the top of Mt. LeConte. Absolutely the prettiest views. At times you'll feel like you want to quit, but once you get to the top you'll see that it's worth it. After getting to the top, I recommend spending a couple of hours to recharge before the trek down. Maybe eat some lunch over on Cliff Tops. If the store is open, pick of a shirt to commemorate the year you hiked it, and don't forget the pic in front of the lodge. Remember, no gifts for people that didn't make the hike.

Was very steep! The beginning along the water in the woods was beautiful. Waterfall not impressive. Much more abundant falls in North Carolina.

This is a great trail. We had limited time, so this hike fit. The trail is easy to reach, not hard to find parking, and was less traveled on the trail. GPS clocked 1.9 miles, but it is rocky and rooted, and the leaves hid a lot of that very well. I tend to agree that this is more moderate because of the terrain and narrow foot path. I took my 2 year old and it was pretty slow going.

Very nice trail with incredible views from the observation tower! Trail is wide and paved, but steep.

Definitely a challenging hike but WELL worth it! This was the most beautiful hike we did on our trip by far. My 10 year old son handled it like a champ. Even after twisting his little ankle, and lots of tears, he made it to Alum Cave!
The first half of this trail is breathtaking along the river. We had lots of photo ops and the kids LOVED stopping to climb up the rocks, on fallen trees and play in the river. After a pretty steep climb it opens up to amazing views. You can see Alum Cave from that point but still have a good half mile to climb. There are areas with stairs where it gets really steep.
Beware going during early fall, when we were there on 11/21 water froze into giant icicles atop the cave and were melting and dropping down from above over the trail. I nearly got hit by a huge one that fell 3 feet from where I was walking up the steps and shattered.
Overall an amazingly beautiful trail that we will definitely hike again on our next trip!

walking
14 days ago

We just hiked this trail on 11/23. There were 7 of us, 4 adults and 3 kids. It was definitely a fun trail. The falls were gorgeous. Lots of places for the kids to explore and climb. We turned back after the falls (the kids couldn't handle another 5 miles to LeConte).
Lots of roots and rocks but overall an easy hike. It was VERY muddy in some areas but nothing that a good pair of waterproof hiking boots couldn't handle.
The only thing was, with it being Thanksgiving week it was VERY crowded. Way too many people to the point where it was difficult to maneuver around everyone at the falls. I highly recommend this trail, just not during a heavy tourist season.

nature trips
15 days ago

Went the day before Thanksgiving with our 3 and 7 year old boys. Like the reviews mentioned, it was quite busy. We parked in the loop before the actual parking area. It was an easy walk, just crowded. We enjoyed taking some steps off the trail to explore a bit, and sit on some rocks to just enjoy the beautiful views.

Easy and pretty

Easy and pretty

Beautiful and easy

on Grotto Falls Trail

hiking
15 days ago

We loved this hike and you can walk behind the falls! We hiked it the day after Thanksgiving with our 8/11 yr old boys. We got there about 9:30 and it wasn’t too busy until we made our our way down, it took us just over two hours including time at the falls. You cross several small streams on the way up and the falls are gorgeous. There are numerous spots you have to walk over areas of roots which could be challenging for some but the trail has some great views of ridges and areas that are dense with rhododendrons along the sides of the path and hills which I’m sure are even more amazing when in bloom. We saw people of all ages on the hike so I’d rate it as easy but do recommend hiking boots as it can be muddy and wet. The drive out of the park was stunning and is worth the drive even if you don’t do the hike. You pass many smaller falls, cross single track bridges and pass Cade’s Cove I believe (we didn’t have time for this). We did Rainbow Falls a few days before which is about 5.6 miles in and out but the scenery on this hike is on par with Rainbow and shorter if pressed for time or not up for the longer uphill hike.

It’s alright. Very, very busy. Fantastic views of the Smokies. Concrete path all the way up.

Fairly difficult, fun and scenic hike. Very crowded. Both All Trails and local signs say 10 miles round trip but the All Trails GPS clocked us at nearly 15. Took just over 5.5 hours to complete.

Easy trail filled with families and presumably first time hikers, AKA no hiking etiquette what so ever. Quick and easy to get to the waterfall, keep following the trail past the waterfall for peaceful hiking. I suggest doing this early am or before sunset to beat the crowds and ease of parking. Would not do again or recommend to friends

Short hike, but with an incline. We went at sunrise hoping to see the sun hit the trees in the fall, but the fog was so thick we could see much at all. However, this didn’t bother me. It was absolutely beautiful – the fog rolling off the evergreens. I’d say this is a must do for everyone visiting the park. It’s a great spot with wonderful vantage points.

Best hike in the park.
Although it is extremely difficult.
I’m 24, I go to the gym 5 days a week and in decent shape. It took 7 hours to do the whole trail.
The dining room was closed at the top and it was 50 at the bottom, 20 at the top. You need at least 3 bottles of water and 2 snacks person.
I did this in Nike Running Shoes. I’d suggest a hiking shoe instead and definitely trekking poles or your knees and hips will be swollen for a week after. Going down is worse on your body than going up. If you plan to summit I’d start before 9am at the latest. It gets very crowded.
The best views however are before the bluffs after the cave stairs.

Load More