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Best Beginner Trails for Hikers in the Smokies

May 9, 2022
Book Lodging

The weather has been so nice lately- I can't stop thinking about hiking! The Smokies are known for many things, and hiking is one of them. They have trails suitable for all skill levels, including beginners! Here are some of the best trails for beginner hikers in the Smokies. 


Twin Creeks Trail 

Twin Creeks Trail is a 4.5 mile out-and-back trail that is known for its kid-friendly terrain and level elevation. The beginning of the trail near Bud's Cabin is typically very busy, but traffic thins out as you travel. Be sure to check out the Fairy House while you're on the trail! 

Laurel Falls Trail

Laurel Falls Trail is my go-to hiking recommendation for those visiting Gatlinburg. It isn't particularly long or challenging (2.4 miles and less than 400 ft of elevation gain), and it ends with a wonderful waterfall! It is incredibly popular, so you're bound to see other hikers while you're on the trail. Since parking is limited, I recommend going early in the morning. Since Laurel Falls has steep drop offs, I do not recommend this trail for children. 


Oconaluftee River Trail 

At the Mountain Farm Museum, you'll find the popular Oconaluftee River Trail. This 3.1 mile out-and-back trail is accessible, flat, and beautiful. It is flat enough to be suitable for strollers and wheelchairs. The river scenery is stunning! 

Cataract Falls

In Gatlinburg, Cataract Falls is an easy, short hike to a waterfall. It is about a mile long, well-trafficked, and kid-friendly. Wildlife is frequently spotted along this trail, so keep a lookout when you're on the trail. Since there are benches and tables on-site, consider bringing a picnic! 

Gatlinburg Trail

Gatlinburg Trail is a quiet, serene gravel trail located behind the Visitors Center. It is 3.9 miles and very flat. This beautiful path is stroller-friendly! It is an incredible introduction to Smoky Mountain hiking. 

What's your favorite trail to hike in the Smokies? Tell us in the comments!

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