If you are visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park there are some incredible day hikes to discover. Below are my top 5 favorite day hikes to explore while you are visiting. Remember, like any hike or adventure, be prepared with a light backpack that can carry water, food or snacks, rain jacket and it's always a good idea to have a basic first aid kid. These hikes are well traveled and quite popular so you will likely see other folks enjoying a day out on the trail.
This hike is known for the azaleas that bloom on the summit from mid to late June, although the azaleas are beautiful year round. Azalea lovers from all over the world come to the Smoky’s and Gregory Bald to visit this display of azaleas. There is a rainblow of colors in the bloom including red, wine red, orange, salmon, yellow, white, pink and even multi-colored. If you cannot make it for the bloom, the hike should still be on your list for any time of the year. There are views of Cades Cove, Fontana Lake and the eastern crest of the Smoky Mountains.
This is a longer day hike and is a steeper assent for the first 5 miles. The hard work will pay off once you reach an area at Spence Field where the grassy meadows will offer amazing views of the North Caroline side of the Smokies. In late spring, Spence Field is blooming with mountain laurel and is a beautiful site to see. If continuing the hike along the Appalachian Trail for another 1.2 miles the panoramic views from Rocky Top are some of the best views in the Smokies. From the summit you can see Cades Cove, Fontana Lake and even into Maryland.
The Alum Cave Trail to Mont LeConte is a classic hike in the Smoky Mountains. This hike is milder and combines interesting geological features, history, high adventure, and incredible views. On the hike you will go through Arch Rock and then take a relaxing hike at Inspiration Point. Then you will reach cable hand rails passing over the rock ledges along the upper portions of the trail. At the summit, you can go to the cliff top near LeConte Lodge for some incredible views of Clingmans Dome and the rolling mountains to the west. Myrtle Point has amazing views of the vistas on the eastern Smokies, which is on the other side of LeConte
There is a large volume of water that rushes over the sandstone cliff that make this waterfall special. It measures in at 20 feet high, but the incredible volume of water make up for the height. It is the most voluminous waterfall in the park! This hike is a moderate 5.2 mile roundtrip hike and one of the more popular hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains.
During the summer months and warmer months of the year, water will drip off the ledges from the top of the bluff. In the colder months, the water drops form into large icicles making for an incredible scene. To enter and exit the bluff during the winter months, hikers are cautioned of the icicles. The views before approaching the cave are extremely beautiful, making this hike a popular spot to explore around the hike and cave area.