Top 10 Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails for Greenbrier Campers

Hiking boots and backpack

If you love hiking, we know you’ll love these top 10 Smoky Mountain hiking trails. These are some of our favorite places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you should definitely visit them when you’re staying at Greenbrier Campground!

1. Mount LeConte

Difficulty: Strenuous

Total Hiking Time: 6-10 hours based on trail choice

Mt. LeConte is the “one” for the avid hiker in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We recommend you plan a day hike, up and down, leave early and pack plenty of liquids and snacks. Don’t forget to pack your wallet as you must purchase a “I hiked it” shirt at the top and maybe a cup of hot chocolate! Cliff Tops and Myrtle Point are the two best viewpoints from the summit.

There are five trails that lead to Mt. LeConte. The most popular hike being Alum Cave Bluffs Trail (currently closed Monday through Thursday for trail maintenance). Other options include Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap, Bull Head, and Boulevard trails, all beginning in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from the Gatlinburg entrance. This is an experience not to miss if you are an experienced hiker looking for an adventure.

2. Charlie’s Bunion

View from Charlie's Bunion in the Smoky Mountains

View from Charlie’s Bunion in the Smoky Mountains

Difficulty: Moderate

Total Hiking Time: 4-6 hours

Trailhead: 13 miles from Sugarlands Visitor Center

Charlie’s Bunion Trail begins from the Newfound Gap parking area. Hikers enjoy a steady climb, along the Appalachian Trail, to this popular 8-mile roundtrip rock outcropping. Wildflowers are prevalent in the spring and early summer. This hike is for those who are looking for spectacular views of the Smokies. If you have the energy, take the side trail out to the “Jump Off” near the Boulevard Trail split to Mt. LeConte. You will not be disappointed!

To learn more about the hike to Charlie’s Bunion, click here.

3. Andrews Bald

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Total Hiking Time: 2-4 hours

Trailhead: 20 miles from Sugarlands Visitor Center

Andrews Bald Trail begins at the end of Clingmans Dome parking area. Andrews Bald Trail is one of our favorite Smoky Mountain hiking trails because it’s perfect for all ages, and the grassy meadow at the end is the best spot for a picnic lunch. Flaming azaleas mark the meadow, with the peak in early July – a beautiful sight to see! This hiking trail has been well-maintained so it is a great option for less experienced hikers at 3.5 miles roundtrip.

To learn more about Andrews Bald, click here.

Bridge to the Chimney Tops

Bridge to the Chimney Tops

4. Chimney Tops

Difficulty: Strenuous

Total Hiking Time: 3-5 hours

Trailhead: 6.9 miles from Sugarlands Visitor Center

Chimney Tops Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the Smokies. The round-trip mileage on this hike is a little under 4 miles, but don’t let that fool you. This is a difficult hike due to the elevation gain. This hike offers incredible panoramic views from the rocky cliff tops. Prepare for this Smoky Mountain hiking trail to be extremely crowded during the peak season, but if you can take on a strenuous trail, you will love the view from the top!

Click here more information about the Chimney Tops.

5. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls in the Roaring Fork area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Rainbow Falls in the Roaring Fork area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Difficulty: Moderate

Total Hiking Time: 4-6 hours

Trailhead: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Rainbow Falls Trail is a very popular “waterfall” hike in the National Park. The trail is 5.4 miles round-trip from the trailhead to the falls. You can continue another 4.2 miles past the falls to summit Mount LeConte. This trail is best after a heavy rain and is named for the rainbow that forms by the mist on sunny afternoons. Rainbow Falls is said to be the highest single drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains.

For details about Rainbow Falls, click here.

6. Trillium Gap

Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous

Total Hiking Time: 2-6 hours

Trailhead: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Trillium Gap Trail is another option for those inclined to take the trek to Mount LeConte, or just enjoy a leisurely stroll to Grotto Falls and hike back out. The roundtrip mileage to Mount LeConte is 13.9 miles or the short trip to the falls and back is 2.6 miles. If you are on this Smoky Mountain hiking trail Monday, Wednesday or Friday, you may see the llama train resupplying LeConte Lodge!

7. Gatlinburg Trail

Difficulty: Easy

Total Hiking Time: 1-2 hours

Trailhead: Downtown Gatlinburg

The Gatlinburg Trail is the only trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that allows dogs and bicycles. The trail is 4 miles round-trip and runs along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River to the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The Gatlinburg Trail is right outside Sugarlands Visitor Center, and it’s a great place for all ages to take a nature walk.

For more information about the Gatlinburg Trail, click here.

Road to Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains

Road to Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains

8. Cades Cove

Difficulty: Easy, driving tour

Cades Cove is the most visited area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The cove can be visited by car, foot or bicycle along the 11-mile, one-way paved road. With plenty of wildlife to see and breathtaking views of the Smokies, a trip to Cades Cove is not to be missed on your visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

For more information about Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains, click here.

9. Newfound Gap

Difficulty: Easy, driving tour

Newfound Gap is home to the Rockefeller Memorial, where Franklin D. Roosevelt dedicated the park on September 2nd, 1940, and one of the most brilliant sunrises you will ever lay your eyes on. You can take a driving tour along Newfound Gap Road which connects Gatlinburg, TN to Cherokee, NC. You can pick up a driving tour pamphlet at any of the Smoky Mountain visitor centers.

Click here for more details about Newfound Gap for your visit.

10. Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains

Clingmans Dome in the Smoky Mountains

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A paved trail leads to the 54-foot observation tower so it is a very popular tourist destination in the park. The hike up to Clingmans Dome is easy to moderate, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. Hang out till sunset, you don’t want to miss it!

For specific details about Clingmans Dome, from the National Park Service, click here.

To enjoy all of these Smoky Mountain hiking trails, make sure to reserve your campsite at Greenbrier Campground today!

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