Posts Tagged: hiking

The Nature Trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Nature Trails of Great Smoky Mountains National Park are short and fairly easy trails developed by park rangers with the non-hiker in mind. They’re self-guiding, and some even have brochures that point out the many things to notice. Even though many of them are quite easy, and suitable for families with small children and the elderly, they all give a richly rewarding experience of nature, and present highlights of the rich diversity of the park’s natural abundance.

The Nature Trails are generally no more than a mile long. Three of the Nature Trails are so easy that we include them in our guide to Easy Walks in the Smoky Mountains. These are Fighting Creek Nature Trail, Elkmont Nature Trail and Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail – the easiest one of all, a flat and paved loop accessible for wheelchairs and baby strollers, set deep in nature.

Here are some more Nature Trails you will want to know about.

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail – source unknown.


Quiet Walkways Along Busy Roads

Image by J. Stephen Conn ©

The Quiet Walkways of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are great for you and your family to stretch your legs during a scenic drive. They’ll also allow you to see some spots that those who stay in their cars will miss, and they’re easy enough for anyone who can walk on a trail.

The numerous scenic drives located throughout the Great Smoky Mountains are well-known by many, but fewer people are aware of the quiet walkways that are scattered across the park. These short and simple trails are easily accessible from some of the most popular roads in the area, so they make a great addition to your family’s scenic itinerary as you explore your surroundings.


Easy Walks in the Smoky Mountains

When you visit the Smoky Mountains, there are numerous things to see and do, with numerous outdoor activities, including scenic trails to hike. But not everyone is super fit or experienced in the outdoors. Here are some easy walks you can take that will fit your schedule and your abilities, and also get you in nature and the beauty of the Smoky Mountains,

The following trails are designed for all ages and walking levels to take advantage of. They’re especially useful to know about for families, small kids, disabled or frail people – or those who just want to be lazy on their vacation time, and prefer just to stroll easily through their stay here.

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail – source unknown.


Rainbow Falls Trail

The waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park are perhaps the most memorable destinations, and one of the most popular waterfalls is Rainbow Falls, the tallest single-drop waterfall in the national park. This impressive waterfall drops its water 80 feet into LeConte Creek and is named for the rainbow that appears in its mist on sunny days.

With such a popular destination, the trail to Rainbow Falls is well trafficked. It’s also quite strenuous, so you’ll likely encounter other hikers as you make your way up the mountain, including those taking brief rest stops to catch their breath along the way. The trail is 5.4 miles Round trip (2.7 mi each way) and it’s a steady climb uphill, with an elevation gain of more than 1,500 feet.

Images by Carrie Waxler


Grotto Falls: Easy to Reach, Easy to Love

Image courtesy of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Waterfalls are one of the most popular sights and destinations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Grotto Falls is unique as the only waterfall in the park that you can walk behind – the trail passes behind the water drop. It’s a relatively short hike and you can get there and back to your rental cabin in just a few hours time.

Grotto Falls is a 25-foot tall waterfall, and a good place to practice your nature photography skills – do bring a camera. You can follow the trail behind the waterfall itself to see things from a completely different perspective, and you may meet some llamas. This trail leads to Mt LeConte Lodge, and llamas are used as pack animals to carry supplies up – if you’re lucky you may see this exotic pack train passing through.


Take a (Guided) Walk in the Woods

images courtesy of A Walk in the Woods

images courtesy of A Walk in the Woods

The scenery of the Smoky Mountains is spectacular to look at, but what if you’d like to get closer to nature and walk around in that scenery, and could use some help getting started? In this case, A Walk in the Woods is a full-range tour guide service that can help.

Join in small or larger tours and have your own personal guide show you selected trails and magical places in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, helping you experience for yourself the wonders of nature with expert advice and guidance. (more…)