Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just enjoy the occasional stroll through the mountains, the Smoky Mountains are the world’s most beautiful place to sightsee and enjoy a hike. To help you plan your family’s hiking trip, we’ve put together a list of our 5 favorite hikes to enjoy in the Smoky Mountains in the fall!
1. Clingmans Dome
If you’re looking for a short but steep hike to get your blood pumping, Clingmans Dome is one of the most popular areas of the Smokies. The hike is only slightly more than a half mile in each direction, but the paved path is extremely steep and leads to arguably the best view of the Smoky Mountains. At 6,643 feet high, Clingmans Dome is both the highest point in Tennessee and the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains! It offers breathtaking views of the Smokies from every angle, and we can’t recommend a better spot for incredible sightseeing for the whole family!
2. Ramsey Cascades
If you’re hoping to get the experience of seeing waterfall during your hike, Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park! The hike to the waterfall is a strenuous 8 mile round trip, but people who make the trek claim that the difficult hike is well worth it for the amazing view of the Smoky Mountains. The water drops over 100 feet onto staggering rocks and lands in a pool where salamanders and other native critters reside. This hike takes anywhere from 5-7 hours, so plan for a whole day of enjoying nature!
3. Rich Mountain Loop Trail
Rich Mountain Loop Trail is a moderate hike that generally takes 2-3 hours to complete. This trail is generally not crowded, so it’s an excellent way to see deer, bears and other local wildlife that makes the Smoky Mountains in the fall the most beautiful place in the world! During this walk, you’ll also pass by the John Oliver Cabin, which is one of the oldest buildings in the area. Enjoy nature and learn some Smoky Mountain history during this family-friendly hike!
4. Mt. Leconte Summit
For a truly challenging but extremely rewarding day-long trip in the Smoky Mountains , gear up for a 12 mile trek to the top of Mt. Leconte, one of the most beautiful peaks in the Smokies. You’ll hike a series of trails which will lead you to the several peaks where you can take in the views, the highest of which is 6,593 feet high! Because of the length and difficulty of this hike, there are 10 rustic cabins available to rent. But be prepared for no electricity or appliances, and be sure to book your cabin as soon as possible because they fill up quickly!
5. Laurel Falls
If you like the idea of seeing a rushing waterfall but you aren’t up for the challenge of the hike leading to Ramsey Cascades, Laurel Falls is an easy 2.6 mile hike that will take you around an hour to complete. This hike is paved, making it suitable for all hikers, but it’s convenience also makes it one of the most popular spots in the mountains, so prepare for a slightly crowded experience!
If you love Smoky Mountains in the fall, be sure to check out these things we love about fall in the Smoky Mountains.