Explore the most popular horseback riding trails in Tennessee with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

10 hours ago

I would not rate this as moderate, it is very easy- the trail was filled with families with small children. I am 26 and moderately in shape. Beautiful forest trail, heard lots of birds. I would definitely recommend exploring the base of the waterfall, as the top portion was crowded with so many people it felt like Disney World. If you can climb down, the base is very peaceful.

Go early! We arrived at 8am. Crowds were coming in on the way back.

Did the trail today starting up Little River trail to the Cucumber Gap, then down the Jakes Creek trail. Great variety of terrain but very manageable. The hike along the river was outstanding, with many Appalachian Tiger swallowtail butterflies. They were plentiful and swirled around us as well as many congregated on the ground. Then the Cucumber Gap trail was an up and over, but not too exerting. We actually encountered a full size bear on the trail. We kept our distance and were fine. The final leg passed through remnants of older log homes as we neared the end. We absolutely loved this trail loop!!

on Grotto Falls Trail

3 days ago

We got there around 8:30am on a Sat. The trail was not super busy and we even had some time to ourselves at the fall. We enjoyed every part of this hike. It was not too strenuous, interesting things to explore and awesome waterfall to walk behind. When we left, the crowds were coming in.

Great hike. Went on 7/10. We arrived at the falls around 9:00. By the time we left at 9:30, there was a line of 50 or more people trying to reach the falls. There were lots of folks walking up as we walked down. Go early and bring a towel. The pool at the base is great to wade through.

Great place to spend the day and enjoy nature. Trail is great and views of Cherokee Lake are stunning.

Easy. Fun. Nature-like.

horseback riding
8 days ago

Beautiful trail but got almost to the top riding horseback and came to a large downed tree. Mountain Laurel blooms beautiful.

This is one heck of a hard hike! 13.4 miles in and out. Saw a rattler around mile 4 and had to wait awhile for him to move on. On the way back saw a bunch of snake holes in the ground for about a mile stretch. Around the same spot as the rattler. They must really like that location. Dodged a few bears along the way. Thought we were only gonna be doing 12.2 miles, so the extra mile and some change surprised us. Took about 7.5 hours round trip. This is definitely not for the weak of heart. My husband, I and 2 kids made it the whole way. Only saw one other woman on the trail, everyone else was an adult male. No other kids. Lightly traveled, maybe 8 hikers total today. View was great, flowers were almost completely out of bloom, glad we saw a few. Would have been a great place to camp overnight. Checked this one off the bucket list. Would not go back unless flowers were in full bloom.

Great moderate hike. Lots of tree roots on trail. Falls are beautiful. Highly recommend! I also would really advise going early. I started around 6:45AM. Coming down approximately 80 people were headed up to falls. (Kept count as a game :) )

Great hike! I did not think it was as difficult as others have stated. Take a lunch and enjoy the view from the bald.

Great trail. We went on the 4th of July early and it was fantastic. The trailhead parking lot was a little crowded, but we never really saw anyone on the trail. Easy hike for our crew of 9 (kids were ages 6 to 14),though a little long to get to the waterfall. So glad we did though...we waded in the water and relaxed, making for a quick trip back down. Beautiful the entire way, quiet and peaceful...and lots of river distractions for the kids. Bonus was how nice and cool the hike is along the river. We were never too hot, even though the temps were in the 90's that day. Super happy!

Great hike! We encountered bear, snakes, deer, etc...great wildlife hike. It rained so we did not get to see the view from the bald (still worth it). I hiked with my two boys, 11 & 14 yrs old. It challenged them but they loved it.

The hike was beautiful with a few waterfalls along the way. There are many side paths to get better views of the river and falls as well. The last half mile or so goes past the final waterfall up an incline to a fork where it meets other trails. If you are just looking for the waterfalls and not for the next connection point I would turn around after the last waterfall that you can see from a wooden walk bridge. The bridge has no rails and is wide enough for a car to drive over. Over all good hike! I would definitely recommend bringing bug spray!!

Nice walk in the woods. Was hoping for views that other people reviewed but they must only be in the winter and fall. Saw an elk and lots of cool Fungi.

11 days ago

I did this hike on July 3, 2018. I really enjoyed the section up to the waterfall. The trail starts out wide and runs along the river. There are places where you can look into the river, or climb out onto the rocks within the river, but be careful because it can be slippery. As other reviewers stated, there are lots of roots and rocks to step over so I had to pay close attention to my steps. I'll also echo other reviewers in saying that you need to look up to see the waterfall otherwise you might miss it. I intended to complete the trail, but I ended up only going a mile or so past the waterfall because the bugs were starting to bother me, even with several re-applications of Deep Woods. Even with the bugs, it was a very enjoyable hike because I saw only a small handful of people, so pretty much the only thing I heard along the way was the sound of the river. I also saw a couple of deer, and many butterflies. It's worth noting that the road to the trailhead is gravel, and it's narrow in some sections so you may need to pull over to allow oncoming cars to pass.

lots of roots, rocks, and a couple small stream crossings keep you on your toes, but overall a relatively easy hike. the falls are amazing, but best to do this trail later in the day or in the off season as it tends to get quite congested.

12 days ago

ATTENTION: If you take the Lead Cove trail you will see bears guaranteed. They are harmless but on the way back down I walked within 5 feet of one in a laurel thicket before we noticed each other. Be aware of your surroundings

This is a great hike for multiple reasons. Before I explain why it’s important to know there are multiple ways to eventually reach Rocky Top. The description on here will take up the Lead Cove trail which is the route I took. The other way which people have reviewed on here is to start on the Anthony Creek trail near Cades Cove. Both are lightly traveled compared to most trails in the Smokies, but Lead Cove trail is less traveled.

The first time I tried to complete this trail was a late evening hike in which I walked up on a momma bear and cub. They were no threat, but they would only walk away not run... and stayed on the trail. They slowed me down so much that I had to hike back down as I was not going to make it to the summit before dark.

I completed it finally this week. I saw 0 people the first 3 miles up lead cove to Bote Mountain trail. I met one person at the Anthony Creek trail intersection. The hike has a gradual elevation gain all the way from the Trailhead to the AT. This portion is not difficult at all if you do any hiking at all. Once on the AT the climb to Rocky Top is constantly steep and moderately strenuous. There are 360 views at the top which includes views of Fontana Lake and Dam.

This hike is great for avid hikers who actually enjoy hiking and not taking essentially a group walk through the woods with tons of people.

12 days ago

Great hike. The log bridges make for some amazing photos.

One of my favorite places to hike to!

Hiked up the Snake Den trail to the AT. The climb was difficult and it took nearly 3 hours to reach the AT. The first 2.3 mikes were refreshingly easy, the next 2.4 miles easy, but more rocky. The descent down the Low Gap trail was steep, but the trail in great shape (probably it was once a logging road).

It was a good workout. Took 7 hours.

A great hike if you're looking for a challenge. We began from Cosby camground and took the Low Gap Trail to the AT. This first stretch is completely uphill and a steep grade at times. The first bit follows the river and then crosses over a trickle before meeting up with the AT. This is the last water you'll have access to, so fill up and filter if needed. Bugs are relentless (or at least in the summer when I went) on this stretch to the AT intersection. Once you meet the AT, it levels off and you can quicken your pace, as it is a pretty simple hike to the Cammerer approach trail. The approach trail is a short hike up to the fire tower, with gorgeous views. Both sunset and sunrise can be viewed unobstructed from the tower and are truly gorgeous. On a Saturday in the Smokies, we saw a total of about 8 people and had the whole place to ourselves for the night. An awesome hike and great views, would definitely recommend to experienced hikers

great trail. starting on the little river trail section makes the elevation change be more gradual.

16 days ago

Started the hike at roaring fork motor nature trail, parked at grotto falls parking lot. Arrived very early(7 am) to avoid bugs, long lines of people and to be able to get a parking spot. We walked on the trillium gap trail to the end of the brushy mountain trail. Total milage, around 7. The falls are very busy and you have to cross the water on rocks to continue on to the junction of brushy trail or to continue on to MT Le conte.
After the falls continue on the trillium trail to a junction with the Brushy mountain, it is walking on a dry creek bed, very narrow. The trees and plants create a tunnel as you walk, so a few Hey Bears are in order. At the top you can see a pretty great view of the surrounding area and the shrubs were blooming while we were there. You will never be in a big open area at the top just small openings to peak over the bushes at the scenary. I enjoyed the hike and I recommend it as an add on to the grotto falls hike.
On the way back we encountered about a million people at the falls and on the trail after the falls.

It’s a steep ascent either way. The lower Cramerer trail is longer, I believe. Backcountry camped at spot 35 and then did the rest of the loop to the top the next day. Was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more to see on the way up to the top. A great reward waits for you though!

The distances are slightly off from the trail map. From the Gregory Bald Trail/AT junction to Mollies ridge Shelter is 3.1 miles (10.1 miles total). From there to Russell Field Shelter is another 3.3 miles (13.4 total). From Russell Field Shelter to Anthony Creek Trail junction is 3.5 miles (16.9 total). Then Anthony Creek is another 1.6 miles. Following the Anthony Creek Trail back to the Cades Cove Picnic area you come across the horse campground on your left approximately .2 miles from the end. Camp #9, #10, and Russell Field Shelter were all closed on June 22, 2018 for bear activity.

Water source at Russell Field wasn't the most enticing. But not many other option along the route between Mollies Ridge and the Anthony Creek Shelter.

I also took a trip up to Gregory Bald which is .6 miles of steady climbing up from the Gregory Ridge/Gregory Bald Trail junction. The Azaleas this time of year were beautiful.

21 days ago

Between Townsend and Cades Coves, I enjoyed the trail. Steady incline up but not bad. Would have never known about Campsite 18 had it not been for two other hikers who said it was a must see. The campsite was the highlight of the hike for me. Very close to the trailhead for the Schoolhouse Gap Trail if you want a two for one.

Beautiful hike with all of the rhododendrons in bloom! The beginning of the trail is a smooth gravel path, however about a mile in it gets pretty rocky so make sure you are wearing appropriate footwear. Also, pay attention when you go to cross a rocky stream because if up don’t look up, you’ll miss the waterfall.

23 days ago

Wonderful Hike with a rather steady incline but well worth it when you see the beautiful waterfall.

The azaleas were really pretty but don’t go when there’s a chance of rain unless you wanna get soaked and not see the view.

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