Running along the Appalachian Trail for much of its course, the Smoky Mountains hiking trail takes you to the most dramatic sight of the Pigeon River Gorge.
Arguably the most visited area of the GSMNP, the mist-shrouded Cades Cove is a wildlife watcher’s paradise, and its well-preserved buildings allow visitors a glimpse into the Smokies’ pioneer past.
As an offshoot trail on Clingmans Dome, this hike just might be the perfect combination of accessible hiking and great views. You’ll end up on a flat-top meadow that still might be filled with grassy fields and blazing colorful flowers, with several options for exploring other trails.
This 80-foot waterfall is named for the mountain laurel which grows throughout the area. One of the shortest hikes on our list, the 2 hours or so that it takes to hike to this Smoky Mountain waterfall is so very rewarding as you’ll experience fantastic views along the way.
The best time to head to Rocky Top is late springtime when wildflowers bloom at their peak. You’ll find vast swaths of pink and white mountain laurel.