Oconaluftee River Trail is a short and easy hike with quick access from the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. In addition to hikers, dogs and bicycles are allowed. The open-air Mountain Farm Museum is an optional stop at the trailhead.
The hike to Kephart Shelter is 2.0 miles in each direction. Kephart Prong Trail parallels the Kephart Prong of the Oconaluftee River and is a nice place to enjoy the sites and sounds of the river. In addition, quite a few historical remnants remain from early 20th century buildings.
Due to its close proximity to Bryson City and the Deep Creek Campground and picnic areas, this trail is popular with tubers and hikers alike. Beginning at Indian Creek Trail, equestrians also may use the trail.
As you approach Juney Whank Falls, a footbridge allows you to experience the 90’ tall waterfall up close. A bench built into the footbridge is a nice place to sit and cool off while taking in the waterfall.
Alum Cave Trail is arguably the easiest route to Mt. LeConte. Along the way, hikers will enjoy some of the best geological features in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Alum Cave Bluffs and Arch Rock are two highlights.
Grotto Falls is located 1.3 miles from the Trillium Gap Trail trailhead. It is famous for being the only waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park where you can walk behind the falls. You will appreciate the cool, misty spot if you are hiking in the summer heat. Enjoy it, and be safe.
The wildflowers on Rainbow Falls Trail are amazing in the spring. The 80’ tall waterfall is spectacular after a long, steady rain. Rainbow Falls derives its name from the rainbow sometimes visible in the mist on sunny days. Rainbow Falls is also the highest single-drop waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Andrews Bald is a fantastic place for an early/late summer picnic (to avoid the heat) and the view of Fontana Lake is spectacular on a clear day. Wildflowers, rhododendron, and flaming azaleas cover the highest bald in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with color.
Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is also one of the most strenuous. So what makes one of the most strenuous trails one of the most popular? That is easy; the end of the trail reveals one of the most amazing views in the entire park.
The surface is a typical mountain trail of packed dirt with occasional roots and gravel. The trail is one mile long and nearly flat, so it is family friendly. Most people can complete the hike in 45 minutes or so. This is a great introductory trail for a hiking newbie. Look for it at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.