The Mountains are Calling!
Which Hike is Right for You?
The Great Smoky Mountains are beginning to reopen to the public on Saturday May 9th, 2020. Planning a visit to the Smokies can be difficult. Any local will tell you that coming to the mountains isn’t complete without hiking one of the many trails. With many hikes to choose from, it’s hard to figure out which trail is best for your family. So which is best for you? Let’s rank a few by difficulty level!
- Little Brier Gap Trail: This 2.6 mile round trip hike is not only easy, it is home to the land of the famous Walker Sisters! This is one of the last areas people called home before the National Park service took over the land. The Walker Sisters’ home and Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse are along this trail. Visiting them is like going back in time to Appalachian roots. This trail is a must-see for everyone of all skill levels!
- Grotto Falls: Another 2.6 mile round trip hike here. This hike is best saved for a warm, sunny day because it leads to the only waterfall in the park visitors can walk behind! The trail is nice and worn down, too, making the difficulty level easy. This is the perfect trail after a long day that leads to a nice, cold nature-shower.
- Rainbow Falls: Unlike Grotto Falls, you can not walk beneath this one, but the view of the 80 foot tall waterfall is breathtaking. It is the highest single-drop waterfall in the Smokies. The hike is 5.4 miles roundtrip, and its difficulty level is moderate. The trail was rehabilitated recently and it’s well-worn.
- Mount LeConte: 11 miles round trip might not seem like much, but the trail on the way up gets a little more steep with each step! The view is so worth it (and the hike down the mountain is a huge relief). Expect panoramic views like you have never seen before when you get to the top.
- Rocky Top: Last but not least, the infamous Rocky Top trail. This 13.9 mile round trip hike is pretty strenuous, but anyone who’s made it to the top will tell you it’s worth every step. The hike goes along the historic Appalachian Trail giving hikers a little piece of history to take home with them.
Remember, there is only one simple rule when hiking the Great Smoky Mountains: take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. We hope your visit to the Smokies includes a hike, no matter the difficulty, through the awe-inspiring mountains. Visit the National Park Service website to learn more at nps.gov/grsm.