4 of the Best Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains

Hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains is a fun family-friendly activity for a number of reasons! First, hiking is a free activity, so you can have fun while making your overall vacation more affordable. Second, when you are out in the stillness of nature, it eliminates distractions, making way for valuable bonding time between family members. Additionally, the scenery can provide a great backdrop for family photos to be used on holiday cards or framed photos on the wall! If you want to plan a family hike during your next trip to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge, get started by reading about 4 of the best family-friendly hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains:

1. Gatlinburg Trail

The Gatlinburg Trail travels 1.9 miles one-way from the Sugarlands Visitor Center to the outskirts of Gatlinburg TN. The terrain on the trail is flat, which makes it great for inexperienced hikers. As you walk along the trail, you’ll get a great view of the Little Pigeon River especially when you reach the footbridge. Along with nature views, you can see old cabins that were built by the once thriving community of people. It is also worth noting that this is the only pet-friendly hiking trail on the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains. Therefore, if you take Fido on vacation, bring him hiking! He will love the fresh air and room for exercise!

2. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

little pigeon riverThe Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is another one of the family-friendly hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains. It is an easy half-mile hike with flat terrain. It is also wheelchair and stroller accessible, which makes it great for families with small children. As you go along the trail, you can see the Little Pigeon River! Additionally, be sure to look out for remnants of the Sugarlands settlement, which was established long before the park we know and love!

3. Elkmont Nature Trail

The Elkmont Nature Trail has a lot of beautiful scenery. In the warmer months, you can see a rainbow of different wildflowers. No matter what season it is, you can learn new things about the area when you read the markers on the trail. Kids and adults alike will love this hands-on learning experience!

4. Cades Cove Nature Trail

Black bear in flowersThe Cades Cove Nature Trail is located 7 miles into Cades Cove Loop Road. It is an easy 2 mile hike jam packed with gorgeous scenery! It is also populated with all kinds of wildlife such as black bears! Even though wildlife viewing is one of the fun parts of hiking, there are a few guidelines you must follow to ensure the safety of yourself and the animals. Stay more than 150 feet away from all wildlife. If you want the best possible view, bring along a pair of binoculars. Additionally, do not feed the animals. Human food could be harmful to them!

Hiking on the trails in the Great Smoky Mountains is a fun family activity! If you’re looking for more information about the area, read about some interesting aspects of Pigeon Forge history!