7 Best Trails in the Smokies You Probably Don’t Know About

December 21, 2023

Have you done a lot of hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains but want to find a new area to explore? The national park is filled with beautiful trails for all difficulty levels and offers year-round adventures for beginner and experienced hikers alike. Take a look at the best trails in the Smokies you might be aware of:

1. Albright Grove

The Albright Grove Loop Trail is a small loop along the Maddron Bald Trail, located off the beaten path in the Greenbrier/Cosby area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll start this old-forest hike at the Maddron Bald Trailhead and reach the Albright Grove Loop in just under 3 miles. Along the way, you’ll see the Baxter Cabin, which was built in 1889. The loop itself is less than a mile long and leads you back further up the Maddron Bald Trail. 

2. Curry Mountain Trail

best trails in the smokiesThe Curry Mountain Trail has a roundtrip length of 6.4 miles and gains about 1,164 feet of elevation, and the trailhead is near the Metcalf Bottoms picnic area. You’re in for a real treat with this hike! It’s a quiet, peaceful walk along the river with plenty of wildflowers in the spring and summer.

3. Brushy Mountain 

Another of the best trails in the Smokies is the hike to Brushy Mountain via Trillium Gap Trail. During the spring, wildflowers will be blooming in abundance along this trail. You’ll also pass by the majestic Grotto Falls! After a little over 3 miles, you’ll reach the summit of Brushy Mountain, where you can admire views of Charlies Bunion, Mount Guyot, Mount LeConte, and beyond.

4. Bullhead Trail

This beautiful moderately-difficult hike starts at the Rainbow Falls trailhead. The Bullhead Trail leads you to a scenic bald that sits at about 4300 feet. Throughout the hike, you’ll see rock cliffs and caves. At the top of the bald sits a unique rock formation called “The Pulpit”, which was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps.

5. Grapeyard Ridge Trail

Our list of best trails in the Smokies has to include the Grapeyard Ridge Trail! After a short, steep incline at the beginning of the hike, the rest of the trail is level and easily manageable compared to other areas in the national park. A unique piece of history also resides along this trail– a wrecked steam engine!

6. Spruce Flat Falls

spruce flats falls in the great smoky mountainsThe hike to Spruce Flat Falls is short and perfect for beginners! The trailhead can be found in the Tremont area of the park, near the Great Smoky Mountains Institute. The waterfall is approximately 30 feet tall and has four separate tiers before eventually spilling into a large pool at the bottom. Expect to see lots of wildlife, especially salamanders! 

7. Huskey Gap 

Huskey Branch Falls is another stunning waterfall near Elkmont you have to see for yourself! If you just want to see the falls, it’s a shorter hike that begins at the Little River Trail. The cascade stands at about 20 feet tall, and you can actually walk over it on a wooden footbridge! You’ll eventually reach The Huskey Gap Trail a few miles past the waterfall, where it leads to an intersection with Sugarland Mountain trail and continues to Newfound Gap Road. 

Now you know some of the best trails in the Smokies that many people don’t know about, but we have more underrated hike recommendations! Learn more about the Roundtop Trail, one of the Smoky Mountain’s least-traveled hiking trails!