If you are a new hiker, then you may want to take extra care to choose the best trail for your first hike in the Smoky Mountains. There are hiking trails that cater to all people, whether you are interested in something simple and easy or you are up for a more strenuous hike. On your next adventure to the Smoky Mountains, you can have a fun and breezy hike on any of the following trails, which are great for beginner hikers.
- Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls is a great hike for beginners because it’s paved and easy to traverse while also leading to a spectacular waterfall. Mountain Laurel is plentiful on this hike, which is what it is named for, and you can expect it to take about 2 hours to hike. While this is still a good hike for beginners, do note that it is considered moderate in difficulty. Black bears are also often active in this area so make sure to utilize bear safety protocol in the event that you do have a sighting while on the trail.
- Gatlinburg Trail
Pets and bicycles are both welcome on the Gatlinburg Trail, which is also a great option for beginners. 1.9 miles one-way, this trail is a great starter trail as it is relatively flat and easy to navigate. You can also enjoy seeing beautiful views of the river and traverse a footbridge as well as see several old homesteads on this hike.
- Andrews Bald
Andrews Bald is a 3.5 mile hike that is considered moderately difficult. Still a great choice for beginners, because it has been updated and maintained beautifully by the Trails Forever program making it much easier to navigate than it was in the past. Spectacular views of the mountains await you at Andrews Bald. If you’re up for more of an adventure for your first hike, Andrews Bald is a great option. n
- Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail
A short trail and great for beginners, this 0.5 mile loop trail is considered an easy hike and great for a beginner that wants to take things slow. During certain times of day, this is a great trail to experience some peace and tranquility. This trail is designed to be easily accessible to all so it’s the perfect choice if you are looking for a trail the whole family can enjoy (including the kids!)
- Grotto Falls
An easy 2.6 mile hike, Grotto Falls is a wonderful choice for beginners that are looking to get their feet wet with hiking the Smokies. Wander through a beautiful old forest as you make your way to a stunning waterfall at the end of the trail. In addition to being an easy hike with waterfalls and beautiful forest views, you can also see an assortment of wildflowers during the spring.
These hikes are all great options for beginners, regardless of the difficulty level you would like to start with when you first start hiking the Smoky Mountains.