5 of the Best Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails for Kids
Hiking is one of the best family activities to enjoy when you visit the Smoky Mountains! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has more than 850 miles of trails for you to explore. The trails range in level of difficulty, from beginners to expert hikers. If you’re worried about finding a trail your kids can handle, don’t be! There are plenty of kid-friendly hiking trails. Here are 5 of the best Smoky Mountain hiking trails for kids:
1. Porters Creek
Porters Creek Trail is one of the most popular trails for families with kids! Porters Creek is located in the Greenbrier Cove, just 6 miles east of Gatlinburg. This 1-mile walk from the parking lot to Porters Flat introduces kids to the natural communities in the cove hardwood forest. When you get to Porters Flat, you’ll see a cantilevered barn, springhouse and cabin! If you visit during the spring, this is an excellent trail to see the gorgeous Smoky Mountain wildflowers.
2. Grotto Falls
You can get to Grotto Falls using Trillium Gap Trail, which goes through an old-growth hemlock forest and runs behind the 25-foot-high waterfall! The distance to hike to the waterfall and back is 2.6 miles. Kids will love the chance to see the waterfall, but make sure they don’t climb on the rocks because it’s easy to slip and fall!
3. Little Brier Gap Trail
The Little Brier Gap Trail is a great way to show kids some history of the Smoky Mountains. The trail is only 1.4 miles long, but is full of history. You’ll pass the Little Greenbrier School, the Walker Sisters’ cabin and more! The trail is surrounded by trees that are the same species as the ones early settlers used to build their homes. If you still want to hike some more when you get to the end of the trail, you’ll have easy access to the Laurel Falls Trail, where you can see an 80-foot-high waterfall!
4. Abrams Falls Trail
The Abrams Falls Trail is a little longer than the others, as it is 5 miles to the waterfall and back, but it will be worth it for your kids to see the 20-foot waterfall! This waterfall provides picture-perfect views of water rushing over the rocks into a long, deep pool. Make sure you bring your camera when you hike this trail!
5. Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail is a walking path that takes visitors from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of the city of Gatlinburg. This trail is great for kids because it is relatively flat, but still offers incredible views! The Gatlinburg Trail runs through the forest along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. At one point, you’ll get to cross the river on a bridge! You’ll also be able to see foundations and chimneys of old homesites along the trail. This is one of only two trails in the National Park that allow dogs, so bring your furry friend along while you walk!