Hiking the Gatlinburg Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains

November 17, 2021

Gatlinburg Trail is a great hiking trail to explore when you visit the Smokies! Since the trail is considered easy, anyone can enjoy walking through the woods on this path! It’s a great way to get outside on your trip and spend time in the national park. Keep reading to find out more about hiking the Gatlinburg Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains:

Round Trip Length 3.8 Miles
Elevation Gain 164 feet
Trail Highlights Dog friendly, history, creek


There are two trailheads to Gatlinburg Trail, and you can hike the trail from either. One trailhead starts at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, and the other starts right off of River Road.

Trail Description

Gatlinburg trailIf you decide to start out on River Road, the path of the trail follows alongside the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. It also follows US 441, or Newfound Gap Road, so you may hear road noises as you hike. There is a bridge that crosses over the river, and once you reach the other side, there is a short climb.

At the top of this hill, you’ll see remains of an old homestead. There is a chimney and a few other rock features. From here, the trail starts to descend, and you’ll pass underneath the Gatlinburg Bypass. This is about the halfway point along the trail.

As you continue through the woods, you will start to see Great Smoky Mountains National Park maintenance buildings. You’ll pass by these buildings and follow alongside Park Headquarters Road, and the trail eventually leads into the road. Then, you’ll spot a sign that says Gatlinburg Trail continues towards the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Trail Map

Here are the exact coordinates of where to start hiking on this trail on the outskirts of downtown Gatlinburg on River Road:

More Information About the Trail

Gatlinburg Trail is one of the only hiking trails in the national park that is dog friendly. As long as your pooch is on a leash, you can walk them along this trail. Almost all of the other trails in the national park prohibit dogs because their scent and droppings could disrupt the native ecosystem and disturb wildlife.

gatlinburg trail creekThis trail is also one of the only trails you can ride bikes on in the park. Riders will want to be considerate of those hiking on foot or walking their dogs, and hikers should be aware of cyclists if they plan on hiking this trail.

Something else about Gatlinburg Trail you may not know is it’s one of the only hiking trails in the national park that is located right on the boundary of the national park outside of downtown Gatlinburg. So you can literally walk from downtown Gatlinburg to hike the trail, if you want!

Now you know more about hiking one of the most popular trails that are considered easy in the national park! Your friends and family will have a great time hiking Gatlinburg Trail. Looking for even more easy hikes in the Smokies? Check out these top easy hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains!