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Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

Illinois
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Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

Going back in October for DH's 40th but will also be there for our youngest daughter's 12th birthday. DH loves to hike, bday girl...not so much. So, looking for hiking recommendations that meet somewhere in the middle!

I've read the posts, browsed the forums, read the guide books, and have been there before but would really like to hear what others have really enjoyed. A hike ending at a waterfall would probably appease my daughter (and me) but overall, nothing over 3-4 miles and probably of moderate difficulty would be best.

We were there last June but mostly drove our way thru the park. DH and our oldest daughter did take a decent hike one day (while the youngest and I hit the aquarium) and saw a bobcat which they thought was awesome. The whole fam took the straight up road to Clingman's Dome and some of the short roadside hikes but ran out of time for any major treks.

Anyways, sorry if this has been covered before but I'm getting in high trip planning mode and would like to make this a fabulous trip for both the birthday boy and girl.

Boston...
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1. Re: Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

It's been covered but I'll cover it again. Hikes that meet your requirements include Andrew's Bald, Grotto Falls, Baskins Creek Falls, Little River, Hen Wallow Falls, Laurel Falls (crowded), and all the trails on the Easy Hikes and Walks page:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g143031-c76910/Great-…

Of those I've hikes to Hen Wallow and to Grotto Falls. Grotto was a little crowded for my taste, though enjoyable; it's not nearly as crowded as Laurel Falls or Alum Cave. Hen Wallow isn't incredibly remarkable as a waterfall, though it is rather unique in it's thinness and height (and views if you turn around). The hike in is very nice and winds through varying types of forest. There's a stream along the way that is worth many minutes of enjoyment.

Kristian

Chickamauga, Georgia
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2. Re: Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

I like the waterfall loop hike in the Deep Creek area over near Bryson City, NC.

The hike is only about 2 miles round trip, but pretty level and easy, plus you have 3 waterfalls to see, all of which are quite different from one another.

While in the area, go do the short Mingo Falls hike on Big Cove Road. Only 0.2 miles, and 160-odd steps, but Mingo Falls is with the effort.

Glen Carbon IL
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3. Re: Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

kat, please explain where Big Cove Rd is.

Cullowhee, North...
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4. Re: Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

Laurasmom:

Big Cove is section or area on the Cherokee Reservation and there is a sign for it called Big Cove Road. Heintooga Motor Nature Trail ends in Big Cove and you can access the 2 way segment from Cherokee.

Librarychick:

I would recommend going north on the Blue Ridge Parkway being the fall and all and head to the Graveyard Fields area of the Shinning Rock Wilderness Area. The Blue Ridge Parkway is the bomb for fall colors...anywhere in the eastern US. There is a lovely and I mean lovely hike to 2 waterfalls- lower and upper Yellowstone Falls. This section of the area is surrounded by 6,000 footers and you are already up over 5,000 feet. The land was burned by a super hot fire in the 1920s and the surrounding mountains are grassy. Views are spectacular.

This section of the Blue Ridge Parkway is about an hour or so from Oconoluftnee Visitor Center in Cherokee. It is well worth the drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway from GSMNP.

If staying in the park is your gig, then I second the Deep Creek waterfalls due to their easy access and scenic qualities. It is also far less crowded than Laurel Falls or Grotto or Rainbow.

Cincinnati, Ohio
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5. Re: Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

We enjoy these:

Porter's Creek Trail to the Hiking Club Cabin. Love all the things there are to see along the way.

Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls. My new favorite.

The Gatlinburg Trail from Gatlinburg to Sugarlands.

All three are easy with minimal inclines.

Chickamauga, Georgia
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6. Re: Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

As you are traveling the Newfound Gap Road toward Cherokee, Big Cove Road is the 2nd road on the left past the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the national park. If you enter the town of Cherokee, you've gone too far.

You travel about 5 miles down Big Cove Road where you'll begin to look for Mingo Campground. There's a parking lot at the trailhead to the falls.

7. Re: Favorite, must-take, and not so difficult hikes?

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