5 Hikes Under 5 Miles in the Smoky Mountains

Come and explore the most-visited national park in the United States with various hikes! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park holds a diverse range of wildlife, breathtaking scenery, and countless hiking trails that are perfect for every level of ability. If you have never been on a hike, keep reading to see some of our favorite hikes under five miles so you can get your feet wet in the outdoor sports world.


1. Cades Cove Nature Trail (0.5 Mile Loop)

The Cades Cove Nature Trail is one of the perfect first hikes for beginners. The trail is flat and easy, making it a great option for families with young children or those who are new to hiking. The trail offers beautiful views of the surrounding mountains and is a great place to spot wildlife, including deer and black bears. Remember, do not feed any animals you see on the trails!


2. Clingman’s Dome Trail (1 Mile Round Trip)

Clingman's dome observation tower; one of the favorite hikes in the area

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower. Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Clingmans Dome Trail is another great option for a short hike. The trail is 1-mile round trip and it takes you to the highest point in the Smoky Mountains. The trail is paved and relatively easy, although it does have a steep incline towards the end. Once you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. This is a great place to take photos and appreciate the beauty of nature.


3. Laurel Falls Trail (2.6 Miles Round Trip)

Laurel Falls at the end of the hike

Laurel Falls Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains, and for good reason. The trail is paved and relatively easy, making it a great option for beginners. Some families even bring all-terrain strollers so the little ones can be part of the fun. The trail is 2.6 miles round trip and takes about 2 hours to complete. The trail leads to Laurel Falls, which is a stunning 80-feet tall! The trail is accessible year-round and is particularly beautiful in the fall when the leaves change colors.


4. Porters Creek Trail (4 Miles Round Trip)

Porters Creek Trail features beautiful wildflowers

Porters Creek Trail is a 4-mile round trip hike that is perfect for beginners. The trail is relatively easy, and it offers a variety of scenery, including old-growth forests, streams, and waterfalls. When the wildflowers bloom in spring and summer, this is a great trail to explore and see the variety of plant life that the Smoky Mountains have to offer. While this is one of the longer hikes on this list, it is not too exerting with various heights and difficult footwork.


5. Alum Cave Trail (4.4 Miles Round Trip)

Alum Cave in the Great Smoky Mountains

The Alum Cave Trail is a moderate hike that is 4.4 miles round trip. While it may be slightly more challenging than the other hikes on this list, it’s still a great option for people who want a true taste of adventure. The trail offers stunning views of the Smoky Mountains, including the iconic Arch Rock formation. This is an arched rock (surprise!) with stairs that go underneath. The trail also leads to the Alum Cave Bluffs, which make the song “Rocky Top” make a lot of sense.


In conclusion, the Smoky Mountains offer a range of hikes that are perfect for all skill levels. Whether you’re looking for a short and easy trail or a slightly more challenging hike, the Smoky Mountains have something for everyone. So grab your hiking boots, and get ready to explore one of the most beautiful national parks in the United States! If you are looking for more things to do during your time in the Smokies, make sure to check out our Things to Do page.

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