5 Must-Visit Hiking Trails in Gatlinburg

5 Must-Visit Hiking Trails in Gatlinburg
Words by Sheila Chau

Located in East Tennessee, Gatlinburg is a stunning Appalachian destination. There’s so many attractions people visit for—from Ripley’s Aquarium to Anakeesta—but one of the best ways to see the sights of the Smoky Mountains is on foot. There are over a hundred hiking trails in Gatlinburg of all different intensities, so there are trails for everyone in the family. Check out a few of our favorite hikes, then plan your own adventure on the trails!

Laurel Falls Trail

This moderate-intensity trail is about 2.3 miles long, and it takes a little over an hour to hike. On thing that differentiates the Laurel Falls Trail from many others it that it’s paved—it was first built to allow fire crews access to the Cove Mountain Fire Tower. The pavement is a little rough due to its age, so even though it’s paved, this trail is not wheelchair or stroller friendly. It’s worth the hike though—at the end of the trail, you’ll reach a photo-worthy 80-foot waterfall.

Rainbow Falls Trail

This trail is about 5 miles long, and it is a fairly difficult hike. It takes about 3-5 hours to complete this trail, so don’t forget to pack a snack. As you go through Rainbow Falls trail, you’ll cross a couple of bridges and see some smaller waterfalls. When you finally reach Rainbow Falls, you’ll be able to see a faint rainbow when the sun hits the mist. It’s a beautiful sight, and it’s a huge part of the reason this intense trail is so popular.

Cataract Falls

This trail is perfect for beginners! It’s only 1.1 miles long, and it takes less than half an hour to complete. The majority of the trail follows alongside the creek, and the sound running water is a pleasant backdrop to the trail’s beauty. Eventually, you’ll go under a bridge and up a flight of stairs—this is when you’ll reach Cataract Falls, a 25-feet tall waterfall. It’s a great view to end a hike!

Baskins Creek Falls

This easy trail is about 3 miles long, and takes about two hours to finish. This is a great path to pick if you’re looking to avoid crowds—it’s known as one of the more well-kept secrets of Gatlinburg. (Don’t tell them we told you!) It takes about a mile and a half to reach Baskin Creek Falls, but the trek is well worth it. The 40-foot, two-tiered, waterfall makes it the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the view.

Metcalf Bottoms Trails

This is another trail that is ideal for beginners! It’s only 1.2 miles, and takes less than 45 minutes to go through. It’s located right next to the Metcalf picnic area, so many people often have picnics after their hike. This trail is especially beautiful because of the trees that line the path—this makes it particularly beautiful in the fall. At the end of the trail is Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse. This schoolhouse is well maintained, and you can even go inside!

Ready to get outside? Plan your next hike at www.gatlinburg.com