After a morning breakfast at our Gatlinburg restaurant, you have the rest of your day to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Smoky Mountains. One of the most popular activities in the Smokies is hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! There are trails for all skill levels that offer all sorts of incredible sights, including historic buildings, beautiful waterfalls, and much more! Here are 4 trails in the Smoky Mountains you need to hike:
1. Porters Creek Trail
If you are looking for a great beginner’s level hike, Porters Creek Trail is a great option! The trail is 4 miles roundtrip in length, and features all types of natural beauty. To begin, you will make your way down a small gravel road. On both sides of the trail you will spot a lush forest that is filled with wildflowers during the warmer months of the year. About a mile into the hike, you will come to an old farm site that once belonged to John Messer. Finally, you will reach Fern Branch Falls, which is a 60 foot-waterfall that you have to see to believe!
2. Hike to the John Oliver Cabin
Cades Cove is home to a number of historical buildings, including the John Oliver Cabin. The most interesting fact about this Smoky Mountain gem is that it is held together by gravity and notched corners, meaning there are no pegs or nails in the foundation! The reason the early settlers built their homes in this way is because it was easier to protect them from harsh weather. As you can probably guess by the name, the cabin was owned by John Oliver and his wife Lucretia, who were the first permanent European settlers in the area.
3. Alum Cave Trail
For those looking for a more challenging hike, a trip on the Alum Cave Trail is something you need to experience! Along the 5 mile round-trip trail, you will see some amazing geological formations. First, you will come to Arch Rock, which is a rock formation that was formed by the freezing and thawing of rock and erosion. You will then come to the Alum Cave Bluffs, which are over 80 feet tall. There is a nice shady area at the top where you can rest and enjoy a snack before traveling on to see Mt. LeConte!
4. Spruce Flats Falls
Spruce Flats Falls is a fairly easy hike that is a bit off the beaten path. It is only 1.8 miles round trip and features a gorgeous 30 foot waterfall that is split into four tiers. One of the other highlights of the trail is the incredible wildlife. During your hike, you should expect to see butterflies, birds, and possibly even a black bear or two! To reach the trailhead, first take Laurel Creek Road towards Cades Cove. Then, you will turn next to the Great Smoky Mountains Institute and look for a small parking lot area to the right!
To fuel up before your hiking adventure on one of these trails in the Smoky Mountains, be sure to visit us at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp in Gatlinburg for an amazing morning meal. Take a look at our Gatlinburg restaurant menu to start planning what you want to eat! We look forward to seeing you soon!