Porters Creek Trail

MODERATE 329 reviews

Porters Creek Trail is a 7 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Horses are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 7.0 miles Elevation Gain: 1,512 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

horseback riding

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

Wooded hike along Porters Creek, old cemetery, historic farm site, waterfall The drive to the trailhead is nearly as nice as the hike. Once at the trailhead you will begin up a gradual incline along a wide gravel path. The trail is in a heavily wooded area, with Porters Creek on your left. This hike provides a cool respite on even the hottest of days. At about the 0.6 mile point, there is a series of rock walls and old building foundations from an old settlement. At the 0.75 mile point, is the old cemetery. Take the time to pay your respects to these early settlers. The gravel pathway continues to the 1.0 mile point, where a short spur trail leads to the Historic Farm Site. You will find John Messer's cantilevered barn built in 1875. Past the barn is the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin, built in 1934-36. The gravel path ends here. To continue on to the waterfall, take the left trail along Porters Creek. This well marked trail continues its gradual ascent for an additional 1 mile to the base of the waterfall.

hiking
8 days ago

Waterfall had very little water

hiking
16 days ago

Peaceful trail with the creek running along it. Love the little side adventures (cemetery, clubhouse, farm) The waterfall wasn't that impressive since it hadn't rained much, but still worth the hike. The bridge and creek made this trail for us!

hiking
18 days ago

Great way to ease into the Smokies with two small kids. A wide gravel trail along the river allowed me to look around while keeping an eye on the running kiddo. Not much for views since we didn’t make it very far, but fun overall.

hiking
19 days ago

The first 1/2 mile of this trail is a gravel road and I was super disappointed but stick with it because it gets better. If you’re into climbs or great views (we are too!) you might feel like this isn’t for you but there are interesting sites around every corner. This is bear country - we ran into a bear on the trail 10 feet away. Luckily we startled him and he ran off. Just be on the lookout for sure!

hiking
1 month ago

Nice hike with great creek views along the way. We went to the waterfall and back.

hiking
1 month ago

IF YOU’RE CAMPING, DON’T READ THIS REVIEW - IT’S WORTH IT. If you’re NOT camping: meh. We called this one “disappointment trail.” The destination is a campground, no views, no waterfalls, nothing. 7 miles for woods... thankfully the Smoky woods are lovely or else it would be 0 stars!

hiking
bugs
1 month ago

Stayed at the campground for 6 days and hiked on one of them. Great for kids and pets. We had a kid as young as 4 who hiked the whole thing. Flies were bad at the waterfall.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a good hike for all ages and all levels of experience. We only hiked out to Fern Falls and returned, although I think it continues on to a campsite. Lots of interesting spots of history to wander through along the way. Did see some wildlife as well. The falls were beautiful, although if you want to get up close you’ll need to do some rock scrambling. Great place to filter some cold water and have a nice rest. Very little traffic, which I thought was odd. On the road in to the trailhead there are several places to stop off and swim in the river, bonus! The drive in is rough, the road is well worn. If you have a lowered sedan you’ll probably scrape, and if you have anything bigger than a full size pick-up it’ll be hard to pass others. Lots of pot holes and some narrow spots to pass. Couple of picnic areas on the road however if you need a place to stop and eat.

hiking
2 months ago

Well worth the hike. The waterfall is 4 miles from the trailhead. You will cross the creek a few times on different types of park bridges and you will be in sight of the creek for most of the hike. Pay attention to the pioneer settlement ruins and cemetery. Greenbrier is a special place.

hiking
2 months ago

"is this worth it?". The most memorable question i was asked by a fellow hiker. And my answer was yes but deeply not so much if you are into views or climbing or reaching a specific destination but yes if you want an easy predictable hike with easy climbs and descends. The final 3 mile drive to parking lot is all gravel and can be hard if you are on a sedan like i was. Also some places have overgrown bushes and bear can be sighted. some places look like bear country.

hiking
2 months ago

Easy to moderate trail. Great for kids or people looking for a less strenuous hike. The waterfall was nothing spectacular since it hadn’t rained recently but definitely still worth climbing the rocks to get closer. We saw lots of rhododendrons, caterpillars, spiders and more. The side trail to the cabin was nice and the cemetery was a lovely place to pay respect to those who lay in rest.

hiking
2 months ago

Visually not the most amazing trail. No real payoff at the end if you go all the way to the campsite rather than turning back at the falls, like most people. The trail itself is fun and challenging though and definitely worth doing if you've done some of the more visually stunning hikes (rainbow; ramsey; Andrew's bald are all worth doing instead).

hiking
3 months ago

We hiked up to the camp ground and back it was definitely a nice hike even in the rain but the only real sight to see is the small waterfall halfway up about then I’d turn back if you’re not interested in making it to the campground. There was a really cool looking hollowed out tree towards the end that made my boyfriend and I do a double take.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

Decent little trail. Only hiked it up to fern falls and then turned around. Falls were nice but pretty far away so tough to get a good look. Rocky and a lot of roots after the second bridge heading towards the falls. The graveyard was very interesting and probably the highlight of this trail for me. Runs along the creek pretty much the whole trail so that was really nice. Started at 6am on Wed 6/19 took about 2 hours with a lot of exploring off trail. Only one other group was heading out as we returned back to our car so not very crowded.

hiking
3 months ago

A great trail for kids. Shaded hike with stone walks, a cemetery, old buildings, and a waterfall if you choose to keep going. Old farmstead is a great place to take a break. The waterfall is about a mile past the buildings. A few switch backs will lead you to a gentle waterfall that slides down the rock. It can be missed if you are not paying attention. The falls will be on your left when you cross a small stream. You can climb up to the water sliding down the rock. The kids enjoyed finding newts in the water.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice trail. 2nd time I’ve hiked it. Not hard but a little treacherous with rocks the 2nd mile to and back from the falls. Come out closer to 5 miles from the lot and if you check out the cemetery and buildings. Small 3 tiered water fall. Great views of the creek.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

If you like scenic vistas, look elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a cool, eastern hardwood forest with a rushing mountain stream, then this is your hike. For much of the hike you will be above Porter’s Creek and won’t always be able to see it through the foliage. You will hear it rushing and burbling the whole hike, though. The waterfall at roughly the one mile mark is actually a side stream gently sheeting down a metasandstone cliff. Past the waterfall, on a Thursday in late May, I encountered only two other hikers the entire way to the end of the trail and back. Near the end of the trail, at roughly the three mile point, look for access to the creek on your right. Go down and enjoy the solitude and the sound of the creek as it pools and spills, pools and spills over the rocks. Once you pass the gravel access road the trail condition is rocks and roots. Trekking poles may be welcome, especially on the return trip, which is all downhill.

hiking
3 months ago

Easy but enjoyable hike through old woods with evidence of previous settlement.

3 months ago

The trail is well marked and well traveled. Like most mountain trails it's up the hill and then back down. There a couple of foot bridges to cross. There are other trails that branch off from Porter's. You can hear Porters creek the entire way. It had rained the night before and it wasn't muddy.

hiking
rocky
3 months ago

recorded Recording - May 20, 12:33 PM

hiking
bugs
4 months ago

4 months ago

hiking - moderate hike. Steep incline with last 1/2 mile full of rocks and roots. The waterfall is pretty but further away than other waterfalls I have visited. The views from the streams are breathtaking. Overall, I would recommend this hike.

hiking
rocky
4 months ago

Great scenic trail with farmstead, creek crossing and foot bridges. Best part was the scenic waterfall and foot bridge you use to Cross it great photo opportunities. The hike is a gradual incline all the way to the falls then it gets steeper with more roots and rocks, you will need to watch your step as you hike. We hiked this in early May, it was quite cool in the morning . So wear layers so you can take off what you don’t need as the hours pass. There are not restrooms at the trail head parking lot if you park right next to the trailhead, but there are restrooms on the drive through the woods to the trailhead, I would recommend using those before parking.

hiking
4 months ago

I hiked this trail for the first time on my birthday, May 12th, 2019. The trail was easy with a very tolerable increase in elevation in parts. Some of the trail is gravel and some of it is a natural path. As for the experience itself, you're hiking beside a nice river the entire length that produces relaxing sounds of water. The old graveyard and homestead sites were a cool site to stop and see but the true gem once you get past the single log bridge is the waterfall at the end. I got some great photos all along the way of the river, wildlife, all the vegetation (everything was so green!) and of course the falls. I started my hike to the falls at 11 a.m. and returned back to my car at 3:30. I stopped all along the way taking pictures and stayed at the falls for about an hour. I plan on going back to do this trail again as it was a great experience. 5/5!

4 months ago

Good trail, the first mile is a gravel road. The last half mile before the falls is a little rough. Large rocks and roots will have you watching your step.

hiking
4 months ago

4 miles total if you are only going for the waterfall, which I recommend. Cemetery was very interesting. Waterfall felt like an enchanted forest very happy we decided to do this hike. The paved portions I would classify as easy, but the mile to and from the fall is a tad bit more difficult. Took us an hour and 45 min which included several stops for photos. We went about 5 and with the sun coming down it made the waterfall that much better.

hiking
4 months ago

This trail is a little more difficult than I expected since it is rated as an easy hike. It is a steady incline for the most part and gets pretty steep toward the end,but the waterfall is beautiful and definitely worth the hike!

hiking
4 months ago

I would recommend this trail as long as your kids are 5-6 years old at least. Worth the hike! You can hear the water the whole way!

hiking
4 months ago

Perfect dayhike. Good mix of gravel road and trail with water crossings, right amount of elevation. We witnessed a wedding proposal at the water fall.We wish the rhodedrons were in bloom.

hiking
4 months ago

We did this as a family with an 11 and 9 yr old. Only planned to go to the waterfall which is about 2 miles in and well worth the visit, so 4 miles round trip. Give yourself a couple of hours for time to get some good photos. It’s a fabulous trail, plenty of spots to wade in the river if the flow is safe. The old farmstead and shed are amazing. Old cemetery is v interesting. Loads of wild flowers and a lush green landscape at the moment. Keep eyes peeled for wildlife, butterflies are everywhere, centipedes and we even got a close up encounter with a snake next to the river at one of the footbridges, a black rat snake I believe.

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