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The Appalachian Lodge
sugarlands valley nature trail in the smoky mountains

If you are just starting to get into hiking, you probably want to know what hikes you should try when you visit the Smokies! There are several easy hikes that are perfect for beginners in the national park, and you can see all kinds of different natural features along these trails! Here are 6 of the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains for beginners:

1. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

If you are a true beginner, you’ll want to start out with something super simple to stretch your legs and get out in nature, and Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is the perfect one! This paved trail is 0.5 mile and simple to follow. You’ll hear the rush of the Little Pigeon River along your hike, and this is a great trail to get some experience on. You might even see small wildlife along your trek!

2. Elkmont Nature Trail

elkmont nature trailElkmont Nature Trail is a perfect hike for beginners. This trail is 0.8 miles roundtrip, and many people explore it for wildflower viewing and bird watching. You might see small wildlife along your hike, and you’ll definitely enjoy beautiful foliage and natural water sources along the hike. As far as easy trails go, Elkmont Nature Trail is a great option!

3. Cataract Falls Trail

Another one of the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains for beginners is Cataract Falls! This trail is 1.1 miles roundtrip, and the path is easy to follow. You’ll pass small creeks, see unique trees, and even see a waterfall at the end of the trail! Beginners will love hiking along Cataract Falls Trail! Want to see other waterfalls? Here are the best waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains you should see!

4. Gatlinburg Trail

gatlinburg trailGatlinburg Trail is another one of the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains for beginners. This trail is longer than the previous trails we’ve mentioned at 3.8 miles roundtrip, but with barely any elevation gain, it’s a great trail to start out on for longer treks. You’ll pass over the Little Pigeon River on a footbridge, and people can enjoy views of the woods. There are old remains of homesteads along the trail, and this is one of the only trails in the national park that is dog friendly!

5. Laurel Falls Trail

If you want to get some experience with hiking but also see an incredible wonder, you should hike the Laurel Falls Trail. This path is considered easy since it is paved, and it is 2.6 miles roundtrip. You’ll gain about 400 feet in elevation, so it will push you as a beginner, but the view at the end of the trail is worth it! The 80-foot-tall, two-tiered waterfall is breathtaking in person, and you’ll want to stop and watch the water rush over the rocks before you head back down the mountain!

6. Little River Trail

little river trailLittle River Trail is also one of the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains for beginners. The trail is about 5 miles roundtrip, and you’ll pass by creeks, make your way through the woods, and might see some wildlife along the hike. You’ll also pass by old cottages and remains from the logging companies that used to be in the area.

Now you know about some of the best hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains for beginners! Hiking isn’t the only fun activity you can enjoy when you stay with us! Look through our attraction discounts you’ll get when you stay in our Gatlinburg hotel so you can decide what else you want to do while you’re in town!