Explore the most popular kid friendly trails near Gatlinburg with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Don’t get me wrong, the views from the observatory are breathtaking and definitely deserve 5/5. But there were hundreds of people there and felt like an amusement park and not the great outdoors. That’s probably me being an outdoor snob, to be fair, but if you’re a fan of nature and pure hiking I’d do this one later.

scenic driving
1 day ago

Beautiful drive! We were there when the fog was hanging around. It made the view even more beautiful! Definitely would go back!

Beautiful, easy drive! We loved the falls on the side of the road. We went at about 5 pm and found very little traffic. The directions definitely take you to the “out” end of the drive! We would definitely take this drive again.

Love driving this motor trail. There’s so much scenery and places to pull over to walk around and see the waterfalls and a few old historical buildings. Also Ely’s Mill at the end is a must visit.

Very pleasant, easy walk. Temperature was in the High 70’s and clear sky. Trail is very easy and only had a total elevation gain of about 700’. Half of the hike is along a beautiful creek. The highlight of our hike was a swim where a small stream cascades into river. Hannah saw a baby snake....

Nice and easy trail along the river

This hike was beautiful!

Although there was no visibility, it was a fun experience! It's a steep walk up a paved walkway. Wear layers for sure!

Did this hike yesterday. It had rained very much the night before so alot of slippery areas but what an awesome hike

This is a great trail. Starts out along the river, cross a nice bridge, and come across the falls. When we went it had rained heavy for days before. I've never seen the river so angry and the falls flowing so well. The river had to be nonstop class 5 rapids. very impressive

The view is worth the hike!

hiking
7 days ago

Definitely a fun and challenging trail to do! There were several creek crossings which was a welcome break from the mostly uphill walk. The trail was not super well maintained and was overgrown in many places (and even had a section that was just walking upstream in the river). Though there were not any mountain vistas, the forestry and rivers made for beautiful scenery. Don’t underestimate this trail though - we were in for a surprise since we had expected a flat trail along a winding river. With a 25+lb backpack on, it made for a moderate to difficult hike. If you’re in the area though and want to get away from heavily trafficked trails like Chimney Tops then this is it! We saw only one other group the whole time.

Very good and a great 1-3 hour day

Great drive through GSM.

That said, I’d avoid this during busy times...

For what it is, this was fun. A steep walk up, but the view from the lookout is breathtaking. If it’s cloudy or foggy, wait 10 minutes, and it’ll clear.

Don’t go at lunchtime, as we found out it was a great place to picnic. Cleared out by the time we were down at 2:00.

This was probably my favorite trail that we hiked! I thoroughly enjoyed the scenery and the cave at the top was gorgeous! Made for the perfect spot to enjoy a snack and break. Our group ranged from 6yo-62yo. All had a great time! Kids loved the bridges along the way. Next time we will continue to Mount LeConte for the full experience!

The road to Clingman's Dome is just off SR-441, which is the Gatlinburg bypass. It is a long and beautiful road through the Smoky Mountains but there are no gas stations so fuel up in Pigeon Forge (southbound) or Cherokee (northbound) as the mountains will drink your fuel. The parking lot is large and paved and affords great views without getting out of the car. The paved trail to the top is a steep half mile that levels near the top where there is a short trail over to the Appalachian Trail. At this point you can walk the AT in both Tennessee and North Carolina as the trail hugs the border. the tower provides a 360 degree view of the Smoky Mountains with views reaching from 20 miles to 100 miles depending upon visibility.

hiking
11 days ago

Great Easy Trail. Plenty of scenic creek views.

Great views from the top. I don’t find it all that strenuous, but I go up past Grotto Falls.

hiking
13 days ago

Kids loved the hike

camping
15 days ago

We backpacked out to campsite 30 for an overnight trip. Trail was very pretty and easy but closer to 7 miles each way. Campsite 30 has A LOT of honey bees buzzing around. Within minutes of putting our bags down, there were probably 10 crawling over them. They are docile and we didn’t get stung at all but expect them to be landing on you and all of your stuff if you stay there. Overall a good trail and trip.

This is just an ok trail. It isn’t exceptionally beautiful or exciting. It was our first hike on our vacation. It is a gradual ascent and I was packing out my 3.5 year old on my back, not because she couldn’t have walked, but the trail was really narrow and I couldn’t hold her hand. And so with a 35lb kid on my back, it was challenging enough for me for a quick hike. ;)

We also had a 5 and 7 year old and it was just right for them. So while it wasn’t MY ideal hike, it was good for younger kids.

A little bit of a bummer because the tower was closed, but it was beautiful out there and the kids enjoyed it. There were some offshoot trails we explored which was fun too.

How beautiful are the Smoky Mountains? This trail was fairly easy yet extremely enjoyable - beautiful streams flowing through wonderful forests.

trail running
20 days ago

This is a perfect place to go for a trail run. I started at the Gatlinburg trailhead and ran to the Visitor Center. I also added on part of the Mountain Cove trail. I would suggest starting early. It was pretty crowded.

hiking
21 days ago

This was an easy hike which was nice since it was evening and we had already gone on another hike. The trail starts out following a road and going behind the park department maintenance area. But once you get past this it is a nice hike along the river. There are a couple of old chimneys that look like they are from the old Sugarland settlement.

Great short easy hike .The house and small buildings are in great shape.Quiet beautiful walk.

Awesome

As an easy - 0.5 miles from the parking, it is alright. It isn't much detour from the main road neither, but it can get crowded. Do if you are planning to go in the area, otherwise I think there is nicer places to see

It's an easy hike, but it's a nice one.

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