Top 10 Smoky Mountain Trails by Difficulty

January 02, 2019

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains can vary from being difficult to fairly easy to navigate. However, there’s a trail out there for every level of hiker! We’ve put together the 10 top Smoky Mountain trails by difficulty so you can hit the trails you are excited to see!

1. Laurel Falls- Easy

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Not only, because of its beautiful 80 foot tall waterfall, but because this is one of the easiest Smoky Mountain trails by difficulty! The trails is 2.6 miles round trip and paved!

2. Little Brier Gap Trail- Easy Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse

The famous Walker Sisters had one of the last lived-on residencies in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park before the park service took over the land. On this trail you can explore the Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse and the Walker Sisters’ homestead. This trial is only 2.6 miles roundtrip!  

3. Grotto Falls- Easy

Grotto Falls is another easy to get to waterfall in the Smoky Mountains. Moreover, Grotto Falls is unique because it is the only waterfall in the park that visitors can walk behind! The trails is well-worn, but closed-toed shoes are a good idea. This is hike is around 2.6  miles roundtrip.

4. Alum Cave- Moderate

Alum Cave is another very popular trail in the national park. It is easily one of the coolest trails in the park as well! The hike is 4.4 miles roundtrip. During the hike you will pass through the famous Arch Rock, see beautiful mountain vistas, and get to rest underneath the tall Alum Cave Bluffs!

5. Rainbow Falls- Moderate

Rainbow Falls is considered to be moderate in trail ranking. However, don’t let that discourage you if you are a novice hiker! The trail has been newly rehabilitated and is well worn. The hike is around 5.4 miles roundtrip. Rainbow Falls is 80 feet tall and is the highest single-drop waterfall in the Smokies.

stone stairs on hiking trail6. Chimney Tops Trail- Moderate

The Chimney Tops Trail is a short trail, but gains over 1400 feet in elevation in its short distance! The Chimneys are famous for their stunning mountain views! Additionally, they are known for the many stairs hikers will climb while traveling up the trail!

7. Charlies Bunion- Strenuous

Charlies Bunion offers some of the best views of the Smoky Mountains you can find without hiking over 10 miles. In the spring, this trail is flooded with wildflowers, and in the fall it’s perfect for admiring the changing colors. Due to the hike’s points of high elevations, steep climbs, and rocky conditions it is considered strenuous.

8. Mount LeConte via Alum Cave- Strenuous

The hike to Mount LeConte via Alum Cave is typically considered the easiest because it is the shortest. However, due to its short length it gains elevation at a very quick pace! The roundtrip length is around 11 miles. Despite the difficulty this trail is a popular route to take and the awe-inspiring views and old growth forest make it worth it!  

9. Mt. Cammerer- Strenuous

Many who make the trek up the Mount Cammerer Trail considered the view to be one of the best views in the Smoky Mountains! This 11 mile round trip hike leads to a stone fire-tower, and has rugged conditions along the cammerer fire tower

10. Rocky Top- Strenuous

The hike to Rocky Top is a great spring, summer, or fall trail to try! In spring you can expect to find a plethora of wildflowers! You will also be hiking along the Appalachian Trail when you make the venture up this trail. The Rocky Top Trail is 13.9 miles roundtrip.

We hope our guide for the top 10 Smoky Mountain trails by difficulty has inspired to give a new trail a try! Remember to take any trail at your own pace and pack plenty of water for your adventure! If you are a novice hiker or short on time we suggest starting out on easy trails in the Smoky Mountains many of which are just as rewarding as strenuous trails and also be sure to check out our Smoky Mountain hiking maps!