6 Best Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains

One of the most popular activities in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is hiking. Visitors from all over come to hike and explore the trails of the mountainous region. Whether you’re an experienced or ameteur hiker, there is a trail for everyone in the Smoky Mountains. Here are the top 10 best hiking trails in the region:

Forney Ridge Trail

Level of Difficulty: Easy
The trail starts at Clingmans Dome and continues for 1.7 miles to Andrews Bald. The trail is not very strenuous and the elevation increases gradually to 900 feet. While the trail has some rocky areas that may need to be avoided during the rainy season, Andrews Bald is a green patchy field (hence its name), perfect for relaxing and enjoying a picnic.

Porters Creek

Level of Difficulty: Easy
A 4-mile roundtrip journey that begins at Greenbrier runs deep through the forest. With beautiful natural sights that have remains of establishments from early settlers. The path leads to a cascading waterfall.

The Jump-Off

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
This is a 6.5-mile trail that begins at the Newfound Gap parking lot and goes 2.7 miles along the Appalachian Trail, eventually turning into the Jump-Off path. This is a very steep climb from the beginning and hikers will gain 1,275 feet in elevation. As for the trail’s name–the Jump-Off features a 1,000-foot cliff. Hikers can get a beautiful view of the central and eastern Smokies from this point.

Alum Cave

Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Slightly shorter the Jump-Off trail, Alum Cave is 4.4 miles and a roundtrip. Hikers can expect to climb to an altitude of 1,125 feet into a carved-out bluff. One thing to note: water tends to drip from the ledge during the summer and falling icicles pose a danger in the winter. Hikers will be able to see falcons nesting in this area and also see many other beautiful views that locals come to this trail to see. Epsom salts were once mined from the site.

Mt. Cammerer

Level of Difficulty: Strenuous/Difficult
Strap on your good hiking boots for this one. This 12-mile roundtrip hiking ascends 2,500 feet. It begins at the Low Gap Trailhead in Cosby and ends at the summit of Mt. Cammerer. There is a challenging trail to get to the summit. The views are magnificant, however, climbing the trail is very difficult for most. This one is for the experienced hiker.

Rocky Top

Level of Difficulty: Strenuous/Difficult
You might have guessed from its name–Rocky Top is a strenuous trail for the experienced hiker. It’s made famous by an old folk song. It is 12.5 miles long and begins at Anthony Creek Trailhead. Hikers who make it to Spence Field will be able to see the North Carolina side of the mountains.

About the Author: Jamie is a guest contributor from Mountain Rentals of Gatlinburg, offering cabins, condos, and vacation rentals in Gatlinburg, Tennessee–in the Smoky Mountains region.

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