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 30 minutes allotted for walking the trail does not take into consideration the time needed for looking at the historic buildings. You could spend a couple of hours in total, depending how closely you examine the old structures. In the spring, wildflowers are in abundance throughout the property.
Gatlinburg Trail is one of only two trails in the entire Great Smoky Mountains National Park that allows dogs. In addition, Gatlinburg Trail is one of only four trails in the park where visitors may ride bikes. Begin in Gatlinburg or at the Sugarlands Visitor Center.
This trail has a flat, paved surface suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. The short distance makes it a quick hike of less than thirty minutes. Physically handicapped persons can enjoy the great outdoors on this trail if they cannot access trails that are more traditional.
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.
The wildflowers along Little River Trail in April and May are spectacular, some of the best in the park. If you happen to be hiking in the fall (October), the leaf colors are breathtaking. You will not find a more beautiful spot to see fall colors up close and personal in the Smoky Mountains.
Begin your hike on Little River Trail and arrive at Husky Branch Falls after walking 2.1 miles. The waterfall is 20’ tall and is a great place for photos. Walk another 0.3 mile and turn right onto Cucumber Gap Trail.
Laurel Falls Trail is quite possibly the most popular trail in all of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hike to the waterfall is 1.3 miles in each direction. The payoff is an 80’ tall waterfall with opportunities for taking great selfies with your companions.
The historic Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse is just a short hike up Metcalf Bottoms Trail. Continue on via the Little Brier Gap Trail to visit the homestead of the last residents of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Walker Sisters.
The easiest way to get to the trailhead is to drive to Fontana Village Resort Marina and take the boat shuttle. You can top off your water supply and use the restroom before boarding for the short trip across Fontana Lake. I could live on a boat, so there is no other choice in my opinion.