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First Ever Hike?

Louisville, Kentucky
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731 posts
73 reviews
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First Ever Hike?

My husband, 3 year old daughter and I will be coming to the area the end of May. We have been coming for years, but have never done a hike or even a trail (I know - bad visitor!). I am contemplating taking our daughter on an easy, short hike? Bad idea? If not, which ones would be easy enough for a preschooler and hold her attention for more than 3 seconds?

Chicago, IL
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126 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: First Ever Hike?

I read once that something like 95% of park visitors never make it over 100 yards from their car. I've seen myself that a lot only make it to the entrance sign for a picture before turning around and leaving.

I would start out with the short trails behind park headquarters and Sugarlands visitor center. Get a taste of woods and a cabin or two but a fast exit can be made if needed. I've seen deer, coyotes, turkey, and once a bear back there. If that leaves you all thirsting for more try a quiet walkway off the roadway. They are beautiful and rarely visited much.

Mississippi
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1,530 posts
21 reviews
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2. Re: First Ever Hike?

Little River Trail at Elkmont. It's flat, wide, and has a roaring river next to it. Easiest trail in the park. Go as far as you like, turn around when you get tired.

Rincon Georgia
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830 posts
5 reviews
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3. Re: First Ever Hike?

The trail to Cataract Falls behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center would be a good one. It is short, about 1/10 mile and pretty flat, but it does have a lot of tree roots. There is a waterfall there, not too big, but probably enough to hold a 3 year olds interest for a short time.

Have you ever taken Sparks Lane in Cades Cove. Just after you turn onto it, the road crosses a small creek. We always park and let the kids walk around in it for a bit.

Townsend, Tennessee
Destination Expert
for Townsend, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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963 posts
14 reviews
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4. Re: First Ever Hike?

Little River trail at Elkmont is a good one. But at three, even a walk through the picnic area at Cades Cove campground would be fun. Then you can end up at the CC camp store for some pretty tasty soft serve! That holds my three year old's attention!

Louisville, Kentucky
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731 posts
73 reviews
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5. Re: First Ever Hike?

I think we will do the one behind Sugarlands. If she does well on that, maybe we will try another, or maybe a quiet walkway. Thanks so much for the suggestions.

6. Re: First Ever Hike?

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