No trip to the Smokies is complete without a family hike! If you plan on hitting the trails while you’re here, Old Creek Lodge is the ideal place to stay. We are just a few minutes from the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, making it easy to get to and from all the best trails! To help you decide which ones to visit first, we made a list of the top 5 Smoky Mountain hikes that the whole family will love!
1. The Gatlinburg Trail
The Gatlinburg Trail travels 1.9 miles one-way to the outskirts of the town from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. It is relatively flat, making it ideal for joggers, walkers, and bicyclists. You can enjoy beautiful views of the Little Pigeon River and the surrounding wooded area as you walk along. Whether you are introducing your kids to hiking or just want to go for a peaceful stroll, this is a great trail to try!
2. Porters Creek
If you’re looking for a fun and easy-going hike, try the Porters Creek Trail! This 2-mile round trip is one of the most family-friendly hikes in the Smokies! At a little over the half-mile mark, you can spot remnants of an old settlement including rock walls and old building foundations. When you’re a mile into the hike, you should come to a historic farmsite where you’ll find John Messer’s cantilevered barn. Past the barn, you’ll even see the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin, that was built from 1934 to 1936.
3. Kephart Prong Trail
Explore the history of the Smokies when you take a hike on the Kephart Prong Trail! You and your family may find evidence of the logging era and the days of the Civilian Conservation Corps as you travel along the trail. You may even see some native wildlife including salamanders which can sometimes be found near the stream.
4. Alum Cave Trail
Alum Cave Trail begins as you move through an old-growth hardwood forest. At about 1.3 miles in, you’ll come to Arch Rock, one of the most prominent landmarks on the trail. You’ll pass right under the arch to continue on the trail, but you may want to stop for a picture first because the arch creates such an amazing backdrop! At the 2-mile mark,you’ll reach Inspiration Point, a rocky outcrop with beautiful mountain views. Once you’ve hiked 2.3 miles, you’ll come to the Alum Cave Bluffs, where you can either turn back or continue on to the summit of Mount LeConte.
5. Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls is one of the most popular trails for families to visit. It is also the longest of 4 paved trails in the park. However, the pavement is somewhat uneven, so wheelchairs and strollers are not recommended. The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles, and takes about 2 hours to complete. There is also an 80-foot waterfall divided by a walkway at the base of the upper falls. It’s the perfect place to take pictures and rest for a while before heading back!
We would love to share more about all our favorite Smoky Mountain hikes when you visit. Start planning your next family getaway to the Smoky Mountains and browse our selection of rooms and suites today! We hope to see you all soon at Old Creek Lodge!