There are countless ways to get out in the fall colors of the Smoky Mountains without taking a strenuous hike. Quite apart from the Scenic Drives and Overlooks accessible by car, there are many Easy Walks and outdoor adventures where you don’t have to break a sweat, and here are some of the best.
Posts Tagged: trails
Quietly running through the heart of the action in Pigeon Forge is a great paved trail known as Riverwalk Greenway, a hidden gem of a nature walk traversing the town from Patriot Park up to The Island and beyond. With benches, bathrooms and water fountains strategically placed along the way, the Greenway welcomes walkers and runners, baby strollers and bikes, and pets on a leash to use this free trail, open 24 hours each day, and lighted at night.
The tunnel on the road into Cades Cove is closed for necessary repairs, which will be finished by the end of February (2020). It’s a good time to know about some of the countless other outdoor adventures that individuals and families can take in the Smoky Mountains.
There are over 800 miles of hiking trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and even those don’t account for all of the walks, drives, overlooks and scenic views that can be found in this beautiful area of the Smoky Mountains. Here are some of our favorite trails and outdoor attractions.
Grotto Falls is the waterfall that you can walk behind – you’ve probably seen someone’s photo of this one. The trail that leads to Mount LeConte runs under the falls, and a Llama train walks this trail weekly, running supplies to the LeConte Lodge. This is Trillium Gap Trail, that starts from the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail – a beautiful scenic drive rather than a hike, and one that many people don’t realize exists. See our feature page on Grotto Falls for all the details.
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.
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.
Here are a few more pictures from our recent hike to the top of Mt. LeConte in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Be sure also to check out these sunset views from Mt. LeConte from the same hiking trip. Also see our guide to the many Trails to Mt. LeConte. (more…)
Hiking in the Smokies
Here are some pictures of a recent hike to the top of Mt LeConte. Enjoy the sunset! The summit views with the sunset are from Cliff Top, one of the four peaks of Mt. LeConte – some would say the very best views of the Smoky Mountains are from Cliff Top. (more…)
A nice picture of Rainbow Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, during a hike last year. The water falls 80 feet and makes rainbows on sunny days. The hike is moderate to difficult, about 2.6 miles from the trailhead. The trail continues another 4 miles to the summit of Mount Le Conte. Check the Park web site for more details. (more…)
Andrews Bald is a short, moderate hike from Clingmans Dome, and it’s a great place with a fantastic view. Balds are high-elevation grassy meadows. Most of the trail is shaded, but here’s an open part of the trail, followed by a taste of the view, in a couple of pictures shot by Kelseah Lawson. (more…)