Discover Our Most Visited National Park- The Great Smoky Mountains

By Jenny Williams, Girls Who Hike Tennessee Ambassador

Hi! I’m Jenny Williams, Tennessee Ambassador for Girls Who Hike. I was born and raised in Tennessee so, I have lost count of the number of trips I’ve taken to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. These mountains are definitely my happy place. And, now that I have children, I want them to develop the same love for the mountains so, we’ve made the Smokies one of our go-to camping destinations! 

These mountains give you a new and amazing experience with each season. We live in Middle Tennessee so, my trips have been mostly in the western side of the park.

Smoky Mountains (1).jpg

Here are just a few of the many amazing trails in the park!

Rainbow Falls

Distance: 5.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,653 ft
The Rainbow Falls trail has so many gorgeous things to see along the way, and the waterfall doesn’t disappoint! 
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/tennessee/rainbow-falls-trail

Chimney Tops

Distance: 4.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,371 ft
The trail has been reopened since the 2016 wildfires. Chimney Tops is short with amazing views, making it a must do trail in the smokies! 
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/tennessee/chimney-tops-trail

Kid Friendly Trails:
 

Laurel Falls

Distance: 2.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 393 ft
Another popular trail in the park so, try this one on a weekday to see the gorgeous 80 ft falls.
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/tennessee/laurel-falls--2

Grotto Falls

Distance: 2.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 534 ft
Grotto Falls is a very popular trail and crowded on the weekends, but you don’t want to miss walking behind this beautiful waterfall!
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/tennessee/grotto-falls-trail

Cataract Falls

Distance: 1.0 miles
Elevation Gain: 26 ft
The Cataract Falls trail is located directly behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center. It’s a great way to kick off your day in the park!
https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/tennessee/cataract-falls--2

There are SO MANY amazing trails in the Smoky Mountains. There is no way to cover them all. Click HERE to explore more hiking adventures that the Smoky Mountains have to offer. If you have kids, make sure to check out the National Park Service’s Junior Ranger program! My boys love to collect badges from each park we visit!

Smoky Mountains Junior Ranger.jpg

QUICK FACTS:

Location: Tennessee and North Carolina

Established: June 15, 1934

Covers 522,427 acres

One of the oldest mountain ranges on earth

Smoky Mountains Sunset.jpg

Most visited national park in the US with 11.3 million visits in 2016. The Grand Canyon was #2 with 4.6 million visits. 

850 miles of backcountry trails with 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail running through the park

Estimated 1,500 black bears call the smoky mountains home

The 2016 Wildfires claimed at least 14 lives and burned 10,000 acres within the national park
 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park gear:

https://www.parksproject.us/collections/all?_=pf&pf_t_by_park=Great%20Smokies

https://mericaclothing.com/shop/great-smoky-mountains-np-sticker-wildfire-fundraiser

https://www.project615.org/shop-online/great-smoky-mountains-tee

https://www.etsy.com/listing/555917453/great-smoky-mountain-national-park-shirt?ga_order=most_relevant&ga_search_type=all&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_search_query=great%20smoky%20mountains%20tee&ref=sr_gallery-1-4

Smoky Mountains.jpg

Jenny is the Ambassador for our Tennessee chapter. You can see more of her photographs at The Whimsy Willow. To join her local meetups and discussions through the Tennessee chapter, click here. To become a member of Girls Who Hike, click here.

Sharron McBrideComment