Gatlinburg Area Hiking Trails

BALSAM MOUNTAIN:

Balsam High Point: Views, views and more gorgeous views are the reward for this 7.0 mile round-trip hike. Although it isn’t one of the more popular trails in the area it is well worth the trip. Balsam Mountain: Definitely an overnight hike (a few nights in fact) this 23.4 mile trail runs along the North Carolina and Tennessee state line. For those who choose to do the entire hike there are two trail shelters and plenty of hardwood forest to observe along the way. Only recommended to the most experienced hikers Balsam Mountain is a difficult trail unless only travelled for part of the way. If you plan on staying in one of the shelters overnight obtain the necessary permits with the Park Rangers beforehand. Hemphill Bald Loop: This is a more strenuous trail that takes the hiker around eight hours to complete the 13.7 mile round-trip loop. Wintertime gives the hiker beautiful mountain views while spring rejuvenates the area, filling it with greenery all around. There will be sign with “large poplars” printed on it; take a quick detour to observe the magnificent trees down this side trail. Ask the Park Rangers for directions to the trailhead that can be accessed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rough Fork Trail: Bring your nimble feet for this 11.6 mile loop where in the first mile alone you will need to take three narrow foot logs to travel the path. At the end of this first mile you will be rewarded by the “Steve Woody Place,” an old homestead that is available for exploration. Hike a little further to Caldwell Fork for some pretty picture opportunities. Reaching a top elevation of 4000 feet this is a moderate hike for all levels.

BIG CREEK

Big Creek & Mouse Creek Falls: Hike Big Creek , an old railroad path built by a logging company in the 1900’s, to reach the 45-foot Mouse Creek Falls, an easy 4.0 mile round trip. The relatively level path created by the Civilian Conservation Corps means that this is a great trail for beginners and families with young children; the site and sounds of the creek will accompany you to the top and back. About a mile into the hike stop and admire Midnight Hole, a pretty pool under a smaller 6-foot falls along the way, you might even spy some fish swimming on a clear sunny day! Access this trailhead from exit 451 off I-40. Mount Sterling: Due to its length (27.1 miles) a permit is required for this hike; signing in with the ranger station at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park ensures your safety should something happen along the way. Starting at the Big Creek Campground the hiker will travel across five different trails while enjoying the beauty of streams, springs and rivers whose calming sounds will be welcome when the trail becomes tough. This is usually a 2-3 day hike for experienced climbers going at a comfortable pace. The sight of Mt. Sterling from the summit is jaw-dropping, so don’t forget to bring your camera! Don’t be surprised if you hear the sounds of horses neighing; this trail is also used for horse-led jaunts through the park.

CADES COVE
Abrams Falls: All of these hikes are accessed via the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance; go pas the Sugarland Visitor Center to Cades Cove where there is a parking lot that can accommodate a fair amount of cars. These are some of the busiest trails so come early or later in the year for fewer hikers on them. Perfect for beginners and families this 5.0 mile hike, this hike is named after Abraham, a Cherokee chief in a nearby village long ago. Consisting of the runoff of 18 minor streams, Abrams Creek than turns into the falls which are a fantastic sight. Either stop at the falls or continue another two miles up the path for a more strenuous yet less crowded hike.

Ace Gap: This 5.5 mile hike is great for families or beginners due to its fairly level ground that it maintains throughout the path. There are many highlights of this trail: lady pink slippers in the springtime, Bull Cave which is the largest in the park and an old railroad bed that indicates you have reached Ace Gap. Named after the card-playing loggers that used to meet up here it is a very peaceful walk through the park that is not as popular as other walks.

Gregory Bald: Many visitors and locals alike love to visit this trail in late July when the flame azaleas are in full bloom; their vivid pinks and reds are sure to take your breath away; some hikers have been known to burst into song! These flowers are so unique that the British Museum of Natural History has collected samples of them. Although it is one of the more difficult trails at 11.3 miles and reaching an elevation of 4949 feet it is heavily travelled throughout the year. Tree lovers will also enjoy this trail for the old-growth forest that appears later on in the hike. Named after Russell Gregory, an early settler, you will not be disappointed with this hike.

Lumber Ridge: Fans of logging history will be able to take a step back in time at the location of the old Little River Lumber Company at Lumber Ridge. You can spy logging roads and railway spikes that ferried the lumber to the east coast on this 8.11 mile trip. Wildflowers like mountain laurel are also abundant here in-season. For the more adventurous equipped with GPS you can go off-trail and take forays along old railroad tracks; make sure to bring a map or GPS and tell a park ranger where you plan on going, they can alert you of any wipeouts or other dangers in the area. 

Middle Prong: The Middle Prong of the Little River watershed is home to many waterfalls and cascades that empty into it such as Panther Creek and the Lynn Camp Prong. Take the trail one way to Lynn Camp Prong for a distance of 4.1 miles or loop back to your trailhead. Make sure to bring your camera, the cascades are absolutely perfect and picture-worthy. A moderate hike with a few difficult spots, this is great for hikers of all levels.

Rich Mountain Loop: This 8.5 mile round-trip hike is a crowd pleaser. From blooming wildflowers in the lush meadows to an area rich in history, there is something for every hiker on Rich Mountain Loop. One of the more popular features is the John Oliver cabin, a veteran of the War of 1812; it is one of the oldest structures in the park and still in good condition. As one of the first white settlers in the area, the Oliver family has become an indelible part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park history. Continue on down the loop to see wildflowers such as flame azalea, mountain laurel and purple phacelia.

Rocky Top/ Thunderhead: This trail also doubles as a horse trail so be cautious of where you step! Fantastic views of azalea and mountain laurel welcome the hearty hiker in the springtime; pack a picnic and revel in the natural beauty all around you. At 13.9 miles and reaching 5527 feet you will certainly have a hearty appetite. Later on you will see the three summits that make up Thunderhead and the lush green of Rocky Top. These beautiful sights inspired Felice and Boudleaux Bryant to write the lyrics for what would later become the fight song for the University of Tennessee; don’t miss out on seeing them yourself.

Schoolhouse Gap: Bears have been known to frequent this area so be sure to check with park personnel about recent sightings and whether to avoid this trail. As with many of the other Cades Cove trails Schoolhouse Gap is famous for wildflowers like southern harebell, blue lobelia and rhododendron. This is a wide path that is also a horse trail; remember to always give way to horses when hiking on any trail in the park. Along the path you will encounter White Oak Sinks, Blowhole Cave and the Chestnut Top Trail that leads to Schoolhouse Gap.

Spence Field: One of the more strenuous hikes in Cades Cove, this 10.3 mile hike reaches an elevation of 4919 feet; not recommended for beginning hikers or families. Walk through a rhododendron tunnel over the path, small grassy meadows, mountainsides covered in mountain laurel and dozens of lovely picnic spots in which to enjoy all of the natural beauty. In 1830 James Spence built a cabin in this area, thus the name for this trail came to be. The balds and other clearings were old grounds for cattle grazing. Enjoy walking part of the Appalachian Trail and keep an eye out for an horse groups that also use this trail.

CATALOOCHEE

Big Fork Ridge Loop: Tree lovers will adore this trail that features huge hemlocks and stately oaks amongst the old growth forest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Visit an old homestead along the way to round out a lovely hike along this 9.3 mile trail. Although it is long this is a family-friendly trail that is fun to do year-round with two loops available to traverse.

Boogerman Loop: If reaching new heights is your goal then the Boogerman Loop is a great trail to start out on. Reaching a height of3,600 feet Boogerman Loop is 7.4 miles of natural beauty. Crossing cold mountain streams, passing through old-growth forest and taking pictures of the old home site of Robert “Boogerman” Palmer” , a settler of long ago, are just a few of the things you can see on this trail. It is well maintained and a pleasure to walk along especially for those new to the Cataloochee area.

CHEROKEE

Lonesome Pine Trail: Accessed by the Noland Divide Trail, this 6.0 mile hike is a bit more strenuous so it is not recommended for beginners. The main feature of this trail is the pine forest on Beaugard Ridge; this path is not heavily travelled throughout the year.

Mingus Creek: Once you leave your car at the Mingus Mill Parking area, this moderate 4.5 mile trail is a pleasant walk that follows Mingus Creek on its path throughout the park. A nice trail for families with children or older hikers.

Newton Bald: Hiked by both people and horses alike, fall is the best season for this trail when winds keep the horses home in their stables. Many people do the entire 11.6 mile loop that includes the Kanati Fork and Thomas Divide trails as well. There are wildflowers to see and small springs that weave throughout your path up the mountain. A great place to stop and have a quick picnic lunch during your hike. O

conaluftee River Trail: This is one of only two trails that allow hikers to bring their dogs along and/or bicycles. The 3.0 mile hike is a relatively easy one with no terribly steep grades, just some minor hills to travel over; take a look over your shoulder to see some fantastic views of the Oconaluftee River. Expect this trail to be busier throughout the year as many joggers and dog-owners from the local towns use it frequently.

Smokemont Loop: This trail is a bit off of the beaten path so it is usually only hiked by those people who are staying at the Smokemont Campground. This 6.1 mile trail can be taken at a moderate pace for a day hike; enjoy the wildflowers that bloom in the spring.

CLINGMANS DOME

Andrews Bald: Not a trail for those hikers who don’t like to get wet or dirty, most of the path is a creek bed filled with rocks, logs and rain runoff. Despite only being 3.5 miles round trip you will reach an altitude of 6310 feet, higher than many other trails in the park. Be sure to wear your sturdiest pair of hiking boots and walking sticks to reach the summit for the incredible views of Andrews Bald, grassy meadows that rest on the higher elevations of the Smokies. This path is well-maintained by Forest services.

Fork Ridge Trail: Compared to the busy Andrews Bald Trail, the Fork Ridge Trail is not widely traveled. Perfect for hikers who want a little more solitude, this trail would be reclaimed by the forest if it wasn’t maintained by Park services. Certainly a healthy hike of over 10 miles it is a great trail for semi-advanced to experienced hikers who want a strenuous day hike around the forest; take note of the trees that represent both mixed hardwood forest and spruce-fir forest, the best of the south and the north.

Noland Divide: Definitely not just a leisurely hike, this nearly 30 mile trail asks the experienced hiker to cross some unforgiving terrain to reach the summit at 14.9 miles. As with all longer hikes it is necessary to obtain a permit for overnight stays; this trail might require a two night stay due to its more advanced nature. Many regulars recommend going on this trail during the fall season when the temperature has cooled down and the amount of foot traffic decreases significantly after the influx of spring hikers.

Silers Bald: Another great view of balds in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park this trailhead is accessed from Clingmans Dome Road, 13.2 miles from the Sugarland Visitor Center. As with the other Clingmans Dome trails, Silers Bald is a strenuous hike that is 9.3 miles round-trip; bring plenty of water to rehydrate yourself. You will walk on the Appalachian Trail to reach Silers Bald, you might even see some folks who are doing the whole thing! To appreciate the beauty at the top try to avoid foggy days that will compromise your vision there. There are parts of this trail that are a bit unkempt so don’t be alarmed if you have to sidestep a few areas.

Sugarland Mountain: To get an amazing view of the Mountain you only need to take a 7.0 mile round-trip hike to reach the highest elevation of 5987 feet on this trail. See why many visitors and regulars alike love hiking this trail; perfect in the spring for viewing wildflowers, this trail also coincides with the Appalachian Trail that offers splendid views of the mountains above and around you. One of the quieter trails in the park this is perfect for solitary hikers or peaceful thinkers. Get a great view of Gatlinburg from about 3.5 miles into the hike; you might even see your cabin from there!

COSBY

Albright Grove: If poplar trees make you swoon then you will love this virgin forest of the finest specimen in East Tennessee. Named after the famed conservationist Horace Albright, this trail passes a small creek and old growth forest that is supremely quiet, a perfect place for modern-day conservationist and park lovers. An easier hike it is available to people of all levels; beware that it is 7.0 miles so taking a lunch break would be recommended for first-time hikers. There is even a cabin that can be examined that was once lived in by Alex and Sara Baxter in the late 1800’s; feel like you are walking a historical path that has heard the sound of footfall for over a hundred years.

Hen Wallow Falls: Follow the path to see “virgin” woods, wildflowers and a beautiful waterfall at the peak, this trail is perfect for people who want an overnight hike that isn’t too strenuous or long. At only 17.9 miles this is considerably shorter than other overnight trips and has much to see and enjoy along the way. Hikers from Gatlinburg and beyond rave about “Spot 34” being one of the best places in the park, you will have to see for yourself what all the excitement is about. A perfect trail to access via Gatlinburg, don’t forget to pick up a permit before starting out.

Mount Cammerer: The views from the top of Mount Cammerer are unrivaled anywhere else in the park. Named after the Park’s director in the thirties, Arno Cammerer was an avid supporter of the park system and was very successful in raising funds for it. After an admittedly difficult hike up (12.0 miles round-trip) it is a treat to see the original restored fire tower that was recently fixed up by a group of volunteers; walk up its steps to see Pigeon Forge, Mt. Sterling Ridge, Snowbird Mountain and the Smokies. Although you cannot camp on the peak itself there are nearby sites that are available by permit. It is possible to do this as a day hike or even better as an overnight; be sure to bring plenty of water and your camera!

DEEP CREEK

Chasteen Creek: Another trail that is also traveled by horses, be sure to give way if you hear them coming along the path. Enjoy the sights and sounds of Chasteen Creek and abundant wildflowers as well as a waterfall on this 4.0 mile moderate hike.

Deep Creek Loop: This was one of the first trails created by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930’s in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There was a campground established there for the corps and several families built homes there during that time. Just a short walk from the trailhead hikers will be rewarded by the sight of the 80-foot Toms Branch Falls; about half a mile later take the loop to see Indian Creek Falls (25 feet tall); on the way back take a spur trail to Juney Whank Falls. When the season is right wildflowers will be abundant; rhododendron, flame azalea and mountain laurel have all been spotted here.

Indian Creek Falls: To reach these beautiful falls take the Deep Creek Trail 0.7 miles to the junction for Indian Creek Falls. This is an easy 1.6 mile round-trip hike suited for beginners as well who will be rewarded by the sight of the 25 foot falls cascading down; on the way back the Tom Branch Falls may be visible depending on the time of year.

Juney Whank Falls: One of the most impressive falls in the park, there are upper and lower parts that are both visible from the footbridge across them. Together they make a 90 foot falls that cannot be missed; bring a camera and maybe even a bathing suit, they are a wonderful relief from the summer heat for overheated hikers. A short hike, only 0.8 miles round-trip, this is a great trail for families and falls-lovers alike.

Tom Branch Falls: Located along the Deep Creek Loop, visitors to the park will not want to miss these beautiful falls. Take this trail 2.0 miles to see Tom Branch Falls; yet winter is the best time to view them so don’t be disappointed if there is a dense curtain of foliage that blocks your way. If you do decide to brave it in the winter you can be sure to be one of only a few brave hikers in this region, if hiking in solitude is your passion this is the trail to take.

ELKMONT

Cove Mountain: Despite its name the trail for Cove Mountain is only 7.7 miles long, comparatively shorter than many others in the park. Past the Sugarland Visitor Center 3.8 miles up you can locate the trailhead for this trail and park your car. Since it is on the way to Laurel Falls this trail is very popular; it is recommended to start out very early or wait for the off-peak times to avoid the crowded and noisy trail. Although the view from the summit hasn’t always been a crowd pleaser the hike itself is very pleasurable and recommended for more experienced hikers to do its more strenuous paths.

Cucumber Gap Loop: Easily accessed via the Little River Trailhead the beginning of this trail is a very gentle hike. Witness history as you hike by old resort cottages that were used by the wealthy from Knoxville in the early 1900’s; they have not been maintained at all so they are not open to the public. There was also a lumbering expedition in this area that was stopped once the park was officially created; you might see remnants of this as well along the way. At 5.6 miles this is a moderately difficult trail that is best seen travelled in the springtime.

Curry Mountain: There is limited parking at the trailhead so be ready to look for parking here. Not one of the more popular trails it is great for solitude-seeking hikers; it is maintained by the park service so don’t expect it to be very difficult. On a clear day you will be able to see Sugarland Mountain and Mount Le Conte about 2.5 miles into the hike. The entire length of this trail round-trip is 6.4 miles and will reach an elevation of 2897 feet.

Husky Gap: Reached from Newfound Gap Road this trail is 4.2 miles long and reaches an elevation of 3180 feet. If you come during April expect to find the trail crowded as the Great Smoky Mountains Association uses it on their Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Tour. You can see some old-growth forest as well during your hike and views of Mount Le Conte are possible on the way back down.

Laurel Falls: Due to its increased popularity parking at the trailhead is limited so be sure to either come early or be prepared to tack some extra distance onto your hike. Named for the mountain laurel that lines the path, Laurel Falls are impressive at 80 feet high. Hike a little further down the trail and you can see old-growth forest where the trees are massive and stately. This 2.6 mile hike reaches an altitude of 2677 feet; suitable for young children the path has been paved thus making it stroller-friendly. Bring the whole family or take a solo hike to Laurel Falls.

Meigs Creek: Starting out at the Sinks on Little River Road, this trail is filled with twists and turns as well as footbridges, swampy areas and several areas that level out before the incline resumes. As the sound of the Sinks fades away you will have reached the end of the first major incline and will start a decline towards Meigs Creek Crossing. In total there are 18 crossings that will be sure to get your feet wet at least once; several smaller waterfalls of ten feet or less can also be observed as well as rhododendron, fern and mossy patches along the way.

FONTANA VILLAGE

Shuckstack: A local favorite this trail is best hiked on a dry, clear day due some steep declines. A moderate to difficult hike, prepare to bring some extra water along on this 6.8 mile round-trip path. Some of the major highlights of this hike are fantastic views of Fontana Lake and the Smokies. Shuckstack refers to a fire tower that was once used by the park personnel to spot forest fires; it is only one of a few that remain and has been maintained. Crossing the dam is prohibited by cars at this time but foot traffic is allowed so enjoy the view of the mountains from here.

Twenty mile Loop: Never be far from the sound of rushing water when you go on this 7.4 mile loop. The Twenty mile Creek is a constant companion to the hiker, a natural music to accentuate your hike in the park. One of the more out-of-the-way hikes it is well worth the extra trouble to get there. A fairly easy hike it will take you from Twenty mile Creek to the Wolf Ridge Trail that is a great place for spying trout, go into the deep woods when you take Long Hungry Ridge for a peaceful calm and less hikers than other trails. Best located via Fontana Village.

GATLINBURG

Baskin Creek Falls: Easy to reach via the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail this short trail (3.0 miles) is great for beginners. The first quarter of a mile is a steady hike but the trail does level off where mountain views and a glimpse of Gatlinburg can be seen. There is a small creek to pass through without the help of a footbridge; it is best not to take this trail after a long, hard rain as this will become more difficult. Although they are not one of the more popular destinations the 25 foot Baskin Creek Falls are a beautiful sight and well worth the hike.

GREENBRIER

Porters Creek Trail: A nice trail for nature and history buffs alike, the first mile (out of 4.0) has the remnants of a gravel road so the trail will be easy to follow. Along the way there will be broken stone walls that were once the site of a mountain community and past those is a historic farm site that is still standing. In the spring yellow trillium brightens the walk along with moss that covers the trees and fallen logs along the pathway.

NEWFOUND GAP

Alum Cave: One of the five trails that leads to Mt. LeConte it is also the steepest yet shortest hike. The trailhead to this local favorite is just ten miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park located off Newfound Gap Road (US Hwy 441.) The most popular features of this trail are Arch Rock, Inspiration Point and Eye of the Needle, a must-see for seasoned hikers and newbies alike. It takes 1.3 miles to reach Arch Rock and a little over 2.2 miles to Alum Cave Bluff, a moderate hike that is a favorite for locals and visitors alike.

Charles Bunion: Not a trail for the faint at heart it’s total distance is 8.1 miles round-trip with a high elevation of 6122 feet. A favorite among hikers throughout the year don’t expect to have this trail to yourself; it is often crowded except during winter where only experienced hikers are recommended to attempt it. Since this is one of the longer trails it is great for either a day hike or overnight trip, but be sure to start out early in the day if you choose to make it a day hike only. Charles Bunion was formed after a fire in 1925 decimated the area’s foliage that was then completely wiped clean by a flood four years later. 

Chimney Tops:  A great hike for semi-beginners it’s shorter distance of 4.0 miles and elevation of 4750 feet it is easily done in a few hours with a few breaks taken in between. The hike itself is fairly easy with just a few rough patches, small bridges over rushing streams and intermittent rocks blocking the path. Perfect for panoramic photos the uninterrupted 360 degree views of the mountains is absolutely breathtaking. It is located 6.5 miles past the Sugarland Visitor Center, a small parking area marks the trail head for this pathway.

Husky Gap: A great trail for nature enthusiasts and those who want less foot traffic in the off season, Husky Gap is a quiet forest hike that will take you about 4.2 miles round-trip to an elevation of 3180 feet. Easily located via Newfound Gap Road, it is busiest in April when The Great Smoky Mountains Association uses it for the Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage Tour.

Jump Off: Starting at the trailhead in Newfound Gap, the total round-trip distance to the Jump Off and back is 6.5 miles. Follow the unmarked path at your own discretion to the Jump Off where the views are gorgeous and camera-worthy of Charles Bunion and the surrounding area. The trail beyond is extremely steep so it is not recommended for beginning hikers who should backtrack down to the trailhead.

Kanati Fork Trail: Another great trail for viewing wildflowers, it is a moderate hike that is 4.0 miles round-trip with an elevation of 4328 feet. It is a little tricky locating the trailhead; drive 8 miles past Clingmans Dome Road on Newfound Gap Road and start looking for the parking lot that is easy to miss. The trailhead is actually located on the opposite side of the road. Named after a mythical legend, Kanati is known as a Cherokee hunter who did all the hunting for his village. If you are familiar with dwarf cinquefoil, large-flowered bellwort, beaked dodder and Turk’s cap lily then this is the trail for you.

Kephart Prong: In this case “prong” means a bend in the river, to be specific, the Oconaluftee River that hikers will cross over 6 times on narrow footbridges. Only 4 miles in length it is a fairly easy trail that reaches an elevation of 3510 feet at its highest point, slowly rising in elevation along the path. If this trail reminds you of an old road, it is, and you will occasionally see exposed concrete chunks along the way that led to an abandoned Civilian Conservation Corps campground that was in use from 1933-1942. If you want to do an overnight in the woods there is a background shelter located a few miles into the hike.

Spruce-Fir Trail: Great for beginners or families with young children this is one of the shortest hikes at just 0.35 miles yet it reaches an elevation of 5684 feet quickly. Although it is not officially part of the park system but it is still maintained by the Park service. It is easy to stay on course by following wooden planks that line the path and are meant to be walked on.

The Appalachian Trail: Definitely a trail for experienced hikers it is 71 miles in length that wind through the Great Smoky Mountains; of course the entire trail is 2175 miles but the hike through the mountains is a beautiful way to experience a short piece of it. Starting at Fontana Dam and finishing up at Davenport Gap in Cosby this fantastic yet challenging trail is travelled by hundreds of dedicated hikers each year. It is best to stop in at the Sugarland Visitor Center to ask the park rangers any questions and suggestions they might have, what parts of the trail are a bit trickier than others and so forth.

ROARING FORK MOTOR NATURE TRAIL

Brushy Mountain: For the experienced hiker 6.8 miles may be a breeze but don’t rush through it! It is a great trail to learn about the history of the Park; you will pass by an old cemetery, rock walls that speak of home sites that were once filled by people who lived and worked on the land. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy seeing a patch of crested dwarf iris on top of a hill. Towards the end of the trail choose to wade the ford or cross over on a foot log to the other side.

Bullhead Trail: This trail is not very popular as it doesn’t feature any waterfalls or other natural wonders, it is a long 6 mile hike that is the least traveled of the five that lead up to Mt. LeConte. To access this trail go to the Sugarland Visitor Center to access the connector trail that leads to the trailhead for Bullhead.

Grotto Falls: This trail is famous for ending at Grotto Falls, one of the only waterfalls that you can walk behind. One of the shorter and milder hikes, it will take 2.6 miles to reach the waterfall at a maximum elevation of 3777 feet. The Falls themselves are an impressive 25 feet high, a worthwhile sight at the end of a short hike. Along the way enjoy the sight of old growth forest that will make for some beautiful photographs to share back home. Locate the trailhead via the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail parking area.

Rainbow Falls: Although this is usually labeled as a moderate trail don’t be fooled by the tricky footing and narrow footbridges that you will encounter along the way. Yet the 5.4 miles will go by fairly quickly as the hike down will go much faster. Rainbow Falls is a treat for the eyes whose cool waters will offer a quick relief on a hot day. At an elevation of 4285 feet enjoy the views of the mountains as you hike up and keep your eyes open for the occasional deer feeding along the path; they are used to visitors so walk slowly and you might be able to take a close-up picture of them!

TOWNSEND

Chestnut Top Trail: Be prepared to break a sweat during the first mile of this hike, it is a steady incline that offers no breaks. But if you are hiking in the spring don’t rush by, wildflowers will start to bloom along the trail; bloodroot, hepatica, violets and bloodroot have often been spotted here. One of the longer trails, it is 8.6 miles that only reaches an elevation of 2374.