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Not to hard hike

Northern Kentucky
7 posts
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Not to hard hike

My family is going to Gatlinburg in 2 weeks. I cannot wait. I've been there a millon times, and still get just as excited each & every time!!! We are taking my 2 step-nephews (17 & 14), who have never been before. (I can't wait to see thier reaction.) But here is my question.... We are wanting to do some hiking. Some of the people in the group are not in the best condition for long difficult hikes, but not terribly out of shape. I'm looking for some nice hikes (maybe 2-3 miles)that are easy to moderate levels. We've done Laurel Falls in the past & it's nice but since we've all seen it more than once not wanting to do it again. I prefer to hike to "something" not just walk through the woods.... waterfalls, old buildings, etc. Any suggestions would be wonderful.

Thanks for the help, will post a trip report to let everyone know how it goes.

Wish I was in...
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1,425 posts
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1. Re: Not to hard hike

Since you are staying in Gatlinburg, I would suggest the Porters Creek Trail in Greenbrier, Grotto Falls in Roaring Fork, or the Fighting Creek Nature Trail behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Porters Creek Trail is one of my favs in the park. It is a very easy hike up an old road with many sights to stop and see along the way. In just one mile, you will be able to explore an old cemetery, see the remains of an antique Model T, go inside a barn built in the 1800’s, and explore the cabin that was once used by the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club. If you continue past the "Y" in the trail, in another 0.8 miles you will come to Fern Branch Falls. This is a nice small waterfall. There is also a neat footbridge across the stream just before you get to the falls.

Grotto Falls is an easy/moderate hike to a very unique waterfall. The trail actually goes under and behind the falls. It is similar to Laurel in difficulty and the same in length, (2.6 miles round trip) but it is not paved. You will need to wear better shoes for this one since there are lots of rocks and roots along the trail.

The Fighting Creek Nature Trail is another nice, easy hike. The only real destination on this hike is the John Ownby Cabin, but you can also make a detour over to Cataract Falls before returning to your car. Cataract Falls is a very small waterfall, but it is very easy to reach and worth a look.

If you are planning to visiting the North Carolina side of the park, you should definitely make a trip to Mingo Falls. This is a very short hike, but you will have to climb exactly 159 stairs before reaching the falls. You will be blown away by Mingo Falls! It is gorgeous!

Here is a link to some more "Easy Hikes and Walks" in the park:

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

If you have any more questions or need directions to any of these trails, I will be glad to help!

Boston...
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2. Re: Not to hard hike

Yeah, that link is great; an example of how helpful the inside pages can be when people get involved. FGG covered most of your options but I've got one more possiblity for you: Hen Wallow Falls. The trail begins in Cosby Campground, a quieter corner of the park about thirty minutes northeast of Gatlinburg. At four miles it's a little over your suggested length, but there's not much elevation gain. It's one of those hikes that I've enjoyed not just because of the end destination (which in this case is nice but not breathtaking) but because of the enjoyable scenery along the way. You will travel through a variety of different forest types and towards the beginning will cross a footbridge over a classically "Smokies" stream.

Kristian

Louisville
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3. Re: Not to hard hike

carmki,

You already have a couple of good suggestions here. Here are two more.

Try checking out Andrews Bald. It's a 3.5 mile hike to one of the best overlooks in the park. This hike begins at the highest elevation in the park and in two weeks, you should start to see some of the leaves beginning to change up there. Here's some more info:

www.hikinginthesmokys.com/andrewsbald.htm

Another good hike is up to Alum Cave. This is 4.4 mile hike to an awesome cave/bluff. You'll also have some spectacular views along the way. Since this is at a lower elevation, you probably won't be seeing a lot of color on this trail two weeks from now. If you continued on to Mt. LeConte though.....

Here's some more info:

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/alumcave.htm

Go Muskies

Wv
Destination Expert
for West Virginia
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2,133 posts
66 reviews
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4. Re: Not to hard hike

Didn't like the hike to Andrews Bald at all!!! We did like Alum Cave Bluff hike, and another choice might be Abram Falls.

Boston...
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5. Re: Not to hard hike

I wouldn't consider Andrew's Bald, Alum Cave, or Abrams Falls easy trails.

Cinn, OH
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1,492 posts
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6. Re: Not to hard hike

Must agree with BlueCuzzo that Abrams is not easy. The kids would have no problem, but it is rocky, tree roots that you have to hike on. It would be pretty hike if the trees have changed color.

Atlanta, GA
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7. Re: Not to hard hike

not sure if this has been mentioned but you can't go wrong with the walk/hike up to Clingmans Dome on a clear day. It doesn't take that long and the view up there is always worth it.

I agree that Andrews Bald is very nice and not that difficult. That one shares the same trailhead as Clingmans Dome.

Most of the other waterfalls (like Ramsey Cascades) are more difficult hikes. But I love that Ramsey Cascades trail and would even recommend hiking a mile or two down it and back. It is so pretty and the little "waterfalls" along the way were the main attraction, not necessarily the actual larger one at the end.

Atlanta, GA
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8. Re: Not to hard hike

oh yes I forgot but if you are in the mood to drive through the park and a bit extra, there are three waterfalls within a short hike at Deep Creek at the Southeast corner of the Park. I really like that area and the hikes are easy with little elevation change.

9. Re: Not to hard hike

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