Top 5 Paved Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails
Most of the trails in the national park are filled with tree roots, rocks, or gravel. However, there are a handful that are accessible for everyone. If you have a wheelchair or need a stroller for your children, you’re probably looking for a paved Smoky Mountain hiking trail. These trails are just as great as any others, and you’ll have a great time being outside! Here are the top 5 paved Smoky Mountain hiking trails:
1. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
The Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is right outside of Gatlinburg near the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This trail is considered easy, and it is the only trail in the national park considered fully accessible. It is a looped trail and is 0.5 mile long. It is perfect for small children, people in wheelchairs, or anyone who just wants to enjoy a quiet nature trail. It is near the river, so you’ll get views of the water, and you’ll walk through the trees.
2. Clingmans Dome
Clingmans Dome is another paved Smoky Mountain hiking trail, but it wouldn’t be considered fully wheelchair or stroller accessible. The path to this observation tower is steep. It is about a 1 mile roundtrip hike, and Clingmans Dome is one of the tallest points in the national park. On a clear day, you can see up to 100 miles away. This is a popular place to come in the fall when the colors change. The trail to get to the observation tower is off of Newfound Gap Road.
3. Laurel Falls
One of the most popular trails in the entire Great Smoky Mountains National Park is Laurel Falls. This trail is near Gatlinburg. It is 2.6 miles roundtrip and is considered easy. The path is paved, but the trail is curvy and steep. In the spring, you’ll see mountain laurel all along the trail. Families, couples, and everyone in between loves hiking this trail. At the end, you’ll see Laurel Falls, an incredible waterfall that stands 80 feet tall. A footbridge separates the top half from the bottom half, and people take pictures in front of the falls.
4. Look Rock Tower Trail
Look Rock Tower Trail is a paved Smoky Mountain hiking trail you won’t want to miss. This trail is considered easy and is 0.8 miles roundtrip. The path is steep on this trail too. It is located off of Foothills Parkway, a popular scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains. There is an ADA friendly picnic area at Look Rock where you can enjoy a picnic lunch and spend some time with family and friends outdoors. At the end of this trail is a beautiful view of the mountains.
5. Cataract Falls ADA Route
The Cataract Falls ADA Route is near the Sugarlands Visitor Center. This is a great trail for people in wheelchairs and strollers. The trail is 0.7 miles long, and you’ll get to walk through the trees, near creeks, and possibly see small wildlife. Cataract Falls is at the end of the trail, which is a small waterfall people enjoy finding. It is especially beautiful after a full rain.
These paved Smoky Mountain hiking trails allow people in wheelchairs and parents who need strollers to enjoy their trip to the Smokies. You’ll be able to get out in nature and make memories together. Another way to enjoy the mountains is to go on a drive. Here are some scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains!