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.
Here are just a few of the many amazing trails in the park!
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!
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!
Kid Friendly Trails:
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.
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!
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!
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!
Location: Tennessee and North Carolina
Established: June 15, 1934
Covers 522,427 acres
One of the oldest mountain ranges on earth
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: