Smokemont Loop Trail is a beautiful hike with flowers, trees, and views. The summit provides great views of the surrounding mountains. Crossing the river requires a little dexterity and a smidgen of courage as the bridge is a single log, about 40 feet long and 2 feet wide. I read somewhere that it is the longest footbridge in the park.
Charlies Bunion is a popular rock outcropping destination on the Appalachian Trail, primarily reached by experienced hikers. The hike is not especially strenuous, but a few drop-offs require careful attention. Our rating is moderate, although the second half of the trail is more strenuous.
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.
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.
Although the trail is called a loop, it is actually a lollipop trail. As you begin your hike on Anthony Creek Trail, expect to see many other hikers along this crowded trail. Even though it is rated “strenuous,” it is well utilized. The loop encompasses four trails.
This is a great trail near a wonderful attraction, but you won’t see many other hikers. Solitude is abundant on this trail. Views of the valley, amazing wildflowers, deer, and wild turkeys, can be expected on the Rich Mountain Trail.
Fighting forest fires in the 1930’s was not as advanced as it is today, and having a bird’s eye view required putting a man above the trees. Park Rangers used these fire towers throughout the park to monitor the forest and report any fires. As technology advanced, the towers became obsolete and were abandoned. Many of the old fire towers have disappeared.
Gregory Bald is considered one of the most spectacular settings in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Each summer, flame azaleas cover the bald in an amazing panorama of colors. Due to the difficult nature of this hike, only the physically fit get to enjoy the payoff.