Best Easy Hikes For The Family in The Smokies

hiking in the national park

Take the family on an adventure through The Great Smoky Mountain National Park! Hiking is one of the most popular activities and can be a great educational trip too. Some trails are longer and more strenuous which isn’t best for every family member. Don’t worry, we’ve put together a list of family friendly easy hikes that are shorter and still packed with views! We’ll also give you some tips and tricks to make your hike the best possible!


  1. Fighting Creek Nature Trail– This 1.5 mile loop is perfect for those looking for a shorter but still scenic hike! You’ll begin the trail right beside the Sugarlands Visitor Center. You will see a side trail marked Fighting Creek Nature Trail and walk over a foot log which lays over a creek. After walking past flora and fauna, you’ll arrive at Cataract Falls waterfall. If you wish to keep going, there is another side trail at Cataract Falls which will guide you on another mile of trail. In total, this trail will take you about an hour from start to finish. Great for those looking for an easy hike!
  2. Gatlinburg Trail– This is a fan favorite trail for families and pets all around! Hiking the Gatlinburg Trail is 3.8 miles roundtrip and is easy to accomplish. With mostly flat terrain and riverside views, makes it a peaceful and relaxing trail. This trail is also great for families with young kids and strollers. The Gatlinburg Trail is also one of the only dog friendly and bicycle friendly trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! If you’re in the mood for food or shopping, you’re in luck. This trail can lead you to the first red- light in Gatlinburg!
  3. Laurel Falls– This trail is great for the waterfall lovers in your family! At 2.5 miles roundtrip, Laurel Falls is a pretty easy hike and should take about 2 hours. Once you pass by scenic trees and plants, you’ll arrive at the beautiful 85- foot waterfall! Be sure to pick up a self guiding brochure that will direct you to points of interest along the way!
  4. Grotto Falls– This is a mostly easy hike with a few moderate areas along the way. During this 2.6 mile roundtrip, you’ll enjoy the old growth forests. The lush greenery, flora and fauna will captivate you  as you get a great first hand view of The Smokies! As you continue through, you’ll arrive at the 25- foot waterfall! The coolest part? You can actually walk behind the waterfall! This is great for pictures and way to cool down during the summer months. This is the trail they use llamas on to bring supplies up the mountain. So you may even see some cute faces along the way on this easy hike!
  5. Oconaluftee River Trail– The Oconaluftee River Trail may be difficult to pronounce, but it sure is easy to hike!  This 3.2 mile roundtrip hike is great for anybody in your family to enjoy. Hiking this trail puts you in between the Oconaluftee Visitor Center and Cherokee, NC. You’ll love the lush scenery while you walk along the Oconaluftee River! You can also bring dogs and bicycles on this trail which makes it one of the best easy hikes in the Smokies!


Tips and Tricks 

  • Get to the trails early in the day for less foot traffic.
  • Get to the trails early to beat the summer heat!
  • Stop at the local Visitor Centers for maps, brochures and more!

These are just a few of the best easy hikes that the Smoky Mountains have to offer! Take a look at our blogs to find hiking trails that are pet friendly and great for the family!

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