3 Extremely Popular Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains for Any Hiker

For the millions of people who visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park each year, one of the things that keeps drawing them back year after year is the numerous hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. With 150 trails officially marked by the National Park Service, there is no shortage of trails for you and your group to choose from. With trails ranging in difficulty from intermediate to advanced, there is sure to be a trail that suits your needs. Here are 3 of the most popular hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. Chimney Tops

chimney topsOne of the most popular hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains is the Chimney Tops trail. The trail features panoramic views from the pinnacles of the hike that are sure to take your breath away. The trail is popular due to these views and its relatively short length, but don’t let the short length fool you. This trail gains the most elevation in the shortest distance, making it a pretty difficult trail. Its roundtrip length is 3.8 miles, and the trail is located approximately 7 miles south of the Sugarlands Visitor Center between the loop and Newfoundland Gap Road, making it easy to find. During peak hiking season the trail tends to get crowded, so be sure to plan accordingly if hiking is not your only activity for the day.

2. Alum Cave Trail

The experience of hiking Alum Cave Trail depends on which season of the year you hike it. During the warmer months of the year, water drips off of the ledges onto the bluff. During the colder months of the year these water droplets freeze and become beautiful icicles. The hike itself is around 4.4 miles round trip, and due to the varying conditions and relatively moderate length, it is one of the most popular year-round hikes. There are two parking areas at the beginning of the trail head, but these tend to fill up during the peak season. Be sure to plan accordingly during your visit.

3. Mount LeConte

mount leconteOne of the most famous hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains is Mount LeConte, the highest peak located within the borders of Tennessee. You can choose from several different trails to reach the summit, but the most popular is through Alum Cave Trail. The roundtrip length of using this trail to reach Mt. LeConte is approximately 11 miles and is rated as a strenuous hike. The views from the top are absolutely breathtaking. You’ll be so glad you decided to hike to the top of the mountain as you’re looking out at the sweeping mountains and valleys below.

There is simply no better way to truly experience the natural beauty and wonder than to get out and take a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. No matter your experience or fitness level, there is sure to be a hike that suits what you are looking for. Since you know what you want to do when you’re in the Smokies, you just need a pace to stay! To start planning your stay in the Smokies, take a look at our selection of cabins in the Smoky Mountains!