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



no dogs



wild flowers

nature trips

trail running



horseback riding


kid friendly





Townsend, Tennessee Map
18 hours ago

Trail is fine, pretty darn well worn. Waterfalls are pretty massive and sweet. Fairly crowded.

3 days ago

We did Chestnut Top to Schoolhouse Gap and it was absolutely beautiful. Wildflowers everywhere and beautiful mountain views in the Spring as you hike the ridge. We saw a deer and fresh beer poop (but no bears). We are moderate hikers and the way up was a tough hike and 8.6 miles roundtrip.
Beautiful hike for not having a waterfall. Beautiful mountain views of Townsend and the Smokies.

A great hike with an amazing view. Walking up a creek/spring along a couple points at the beginning of the trail. A solid elevation gain with some roots and mostly leaves and dirt. The view is wonderful! More secluded and not as used. Easy to find. A must!

Trail was nice. 2.5 miles to a small waterfall. nothing to brag about.

4 days ago

The route is quite challenging, though there is never a part of it that is overwhelming or very steep. It just steadily climbs and climbs and climbs. It gains over 4000 ft, and that’s rare to find among trails. The view at the top is amazing, like something out of lord of the rings. When I hiked, the upper elevations were sans leaves, but wildflowers were coming through. The one thing I wish were featured was a greater variety of landscapes. Most of it was through similar looking forest until the Appalachian trail. I would do again for the challenge. Plan accordingly: I would allocate 6-7 hours if you want a nice break at the top.

three stars only bc there is alot of driveway and store crossings. its great for biking and walking. super easy on the river side. the other side has a few hills that take your breath away but my kids 12 and 7 did great on them. Also had the kid trailer on our bikes and had no issues. would recommend bring your lock and wallet and check out the stores and eat at the apple valley restaurant very good, but worth the price. all in all great 10 mile ride..

My review is from the perspective of an amateur photographer.

I only did the first half mile of this trail because I was looking for wildflowers in mid-April in the Smoky Mountains National Park. In that first half mile I encountered at least a dozen species of flowers and have posted them.

In my opinion this is one of the top 10 wildflower hikes in the NP in terms of variety and ease of hiking.

Start with this hike. If it’s too hard then you probably don’t want to do the other wildflower hikes. But if you do it, you won’t be disappointed in the variety of flowers you find

This loop takes you back in time. It never ceases to amaze me what our forefathers were able to accomplish

12 days ago

This is a great hike for the whole family but not small children

16 days ago

Great trail. Saw a young black bear in a tree about 1.5 miles in.

Very disappointing! Barricade prevented even getting close to the sink/waterfall. If you struggle you can almost hear the water falling down past the barricade. Hiked back to the fork and went to the cave. Guess what ? Another barricade. You can see the bars over the cave, the big metal boxes and the solar panels. You can't even get close enough to see that a cave exists. Hiked back towards the meadow and guess what ? A sign saying to not enter the trail with downed trees deliberately placed to block the trail. You can see the wildflowers blooming about 100 yards away. About the ONLY thing you can see on this hike is the dozens of cheesy Stay on the path signs. It was a shame that this wonderful park location has been smothered.

Trail is diagonal from the building, see photos.

This is the perfect trail for those who want to see mountains & waterfalls but don’t have much time. I wouldn’t recommend this trail to anyone without sure footing due to the amount of roots and slick spots. I saw a few older folks turn back because of it.

I would definitely do this trail again.
Great for kids!

23 days ago

For starters- this trail is only 5 miles.

The route to the trail is on Cade’s Cove Loop “scenic driving trail” so there are tons of people, cars, dogs (which are not allowed), stop & go SLOW moving traffic.
Turn right onto gravel road past site 10 & before site 11.

There are so many people on this trail that it ruins it. Very touristy. I recommend checking out other water falls just as beautiful as this one instead (see Conasauga). We knew this going into the hike, so we chose a Wednesday morning and it was still so crowded. Over 100 cars parked at the trailhead by the time we left.

I will avoid every trail along this path from now on. It takes an hour + to do with cars constantly stopping and going and all tourists who likely aren’t hiking.

My 12 & 13 year boy and girl kept the pace up as we completed this hike in 2 hrs and 20 minutes with 10 mins at the falls and 1maybe 20 mins along the trail. We went March 25th after a rainy night. Volume of water alone made hike worth it. Our 5 star hike is Alum cave to Mt. LeConte we did two days later.

great for familes. we hiked in with 3 kids 8 and under. they did great and we had lunch by the falls. quick 2 1/2 hr round trip..and that includes an hour by the falls exploring.

Great trail ! Recommended for first timers.

Obstacles of many roots, rocks & lots of mud to get there, but the waterfall at the end is worth it.

Great hike for the whole family with beautiful waterfall at the end. Took us about 1 hour, 45 min round trip, including ~30 minutes spent by the falls. We went on a Tuesday, and probably saw only 25 or so other hikers. You’ll need to help little kids navigate the obstacles and stay away from the drop offs, but it’s certainly doable for them.

Lovely waterfall, not very crowded, and lots of spring wildflowers to see! The trail has areas that are covered in roots, rocks, and some wet spots but it makes it very engaging and fun to climb.

Easy well maintained trail with a stream crossing. The kids liked the cabin and surrounding buildings.

1 month ago

Very hard if you are not in the best shape, but super worth it! It is so beautiful at the top.

See an old farm. See others see an old farm.

One of my favorite trails in the Smokeys. Very tough and relatively long which means only the hardcore show up. It's getting harder and harder to find lightly trafficked trails in the Smokeys. This is still one of them. Not much to see "view-wise" until the very top.

Good local walking trail -especially in the off-season when traffic isn't so heavy.

Amazing trail! It was a great short hike to our day. We had 6 of us on the walk including an 8 year and a 7 year old who absolutely loved the trail and of course the falls. It is definitely a moderate trail so be ready for some roots and rocks!

Really enjoyed it!

1 month ago

Perfect morning hike with minimal traffic. Caught a glimpse of a low flying pileated woodpecker that took my breath away.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail with great waterfall at the end

Our family enjoyed the hike. My 8 and 5 year old enjoyed the obstacles. Very treacherous for them, but fun.

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