Our Top 5 Favorite Trails Near Pigeon Forge
One of the great things about camping in Pigeon Forge is that you are located in the perfect center between attractions in Pigeon Forge, and hiking adventures in the Smokies. There are several trails all around, less than a 30 minute drive away from Pigeon Forge. The best place to find these trails is in the Smoky Mountains National park which houses more than 800 miles of hiking trails in total. On these trails you’ll see the park’s seemingly endless species of fauna and flora, along with stunning waterfalls and other natural scenic attractions. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite trails to hike near Pigeon Forge.
Starting with a nice and friendly hike, the Gatlinburg Trail is located between Gatlinburg (a lovely little city located east of Pigeon Forge) and the popular Sugarlands Visitor Center. The trail is a two-mile walk one way, follows the path of a creek going through the park and if you was to bring along your furry family member, it is actually one of the few paths that allows leashed pets. You can also bring your bicycle along this path!
Next on our list is the Laurel Falls Trail, which is with a 75-foot drop, is one of the highest in the park. It takes hikers along an easy path that is a four miles long round trip, featuring lush forests of old-growth. The path is a paved trail, considered fairly easy in difficulty, which makes it one of the most popular trails in the park. It is located located between Elkmont Campground and Sugarlands Visitor Center. One thing to watch out for is that parking can be difficult to find in the on weekends and during busy summer months. One way to get around this is to plan to hike on weekdays in order to avoid the crowds.
Andrews Bald Trail
If you are seeking spectacular views of the Smokies, Andrews Bald Trail is the place to go. It is considered a medium difficulty level hike, with the perfect combination between distance and difficulty, and is a great choice for both avid hikers, and active families. Another thing to note is that Andrew’s Bald is the highest bald in the Smokies.
The hike starts on Forney Ridge, which is located down the southern edge of Clingman’s Dome (another great family place to walk). When you’ve hiked around a tenth of a mile in, you’ll come to a fork between Clingman’s Dome Bypass, and the Andrew’s Bald trail. After you hit the 1.7 mile mark, you will arrive to a grassy meadow, also known as a bald, which consequenttly makes for an excellent picnic spot, so bring some yummy food to share as a family. From there you will also see some spectacular sights filled with lovely panoramic views of the southern Smokies, Fontana Lake, and the highlands.
Porters Creek trail
Porters Creek Trail is great to hike year round, but it is especially friendly during the winter months if it has snowed, and other trails are too difficult.
In the spring, and summer months it is just as lovely, providing beautiful views of vegetation and flora, making it a wonderful trail if you and your family want to go on a leisurely hike. In the beginning you will come through a gravel road along the first mile of the trail, which will lead you into a forest of statuesque trees and rocks lushly coated with moss. Our favorite time to hike this trail is in the springtime, when the yellow trilliums begin their blooming period.
Grotto Falls Trail
Last but not least is Grotto Falls which features the only waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that a person can walk behind and get a unique view. The stunning 25-foot high waterfall is a cool retreat for summer hikers and it is located around 1.2 miles away from the beginning of the trail. For those that love to observe wildlife, the moist environment provides an ideal habitat for salamanders.
If you hike this trail during the spring months you’ll see a beautiful array of wildflowers along the way. Keep on the lookout for yellow and white trilliums, white violets, stitchwort, and many more.
For the most part the trail to Grotto Falls travels a gentle grade along a wide and well-worn path. As you proceed to the waterfall you’ll cross over four small streams without the assistance of a footbridge.
These are our five favorite hiking trails near Pigeon Forge. Every one of them offers adventure, and memorable views for the whole family! What are some of your favorites from the area?