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Easy Hikes

Lima, Ohio
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25 posts
2 reviews
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Easy Hikes

We have been to the area many times & always enjoy getting into the Park, but it mostly consists of driving. The last couple of trips, we've tried to incorporate a little easy hiking & our dd loves it. The problem: some of us are a little out of shape (that would be me) & can't do some of the more demanding hikes...yet. I do have a couple of books with some hiking info and, while helpful, I'd really like some personal experiences from folks who aren't in ideal shape. Thus far we have done Cataract Falls, the hike at the Ogle cabin, Metcalf Bottoms to Little Greenbrier School, Little Greenbrier School to Walker Sisters cabin (different trip, ranger-led) and, last but not least, Clingman's Dome (I thought I might die). So bring 'em on. What hikes would work for this family of 3 that everyone would enjoy?

Thibodaux, Louisiana
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280 posts
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1. Re: Easy Hikes

check out this website.

http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/

it has all the trails listed by difficulty. From easy to hard. it also list the elevation gain for the trail and per mile. and has a cross section of the trail.

Thibodaux, Louisiana
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280 posts
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2. Re: Easy Hikes

also check this book out.

amazon.com/Hikes-Great-Smoky-Mountains-Natio…

Chattanooga...
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864 posts
27 reviews
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3. Re: Easy Hikes

Try the Little River Trail; it follows the river on an old, wide, open roadbed, climbing very little for the first couple miles. You can just turn around whenever you wish. Likewise for the Alum Cave Bluff Trail; it hugs the creek for a mile or more, wandering through some nice stands of rhododendron. It's much more of a footpath than Little River, with a couple of bridges over the creek early on.

Good for you, getting out there a little and wanting to do more! Just keep plugging away; it gets easier and more fun as you go along.

Smoky Mountains...
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2 posts
33 reviews
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4. Re: Easy Hikes

I would definately go with the Little River Trail for even the Laurel Falls trail if you want something a little more challenging but not too much. It has some elevation gain between the parking area and Laurel Falls but the trail is also paved. I have even seen people in wheelchairs complete this one before.

Melbourne, Florida
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for Melbourne, Florida
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5. Re: Easy Hikes

Laurel Falls is worth the hike, just take your time and make sure you have water. It's not that far but by the time you reach the top you can be pretty thristy! Make sure you have good shoes for hiking as that makes things easier too. Also on the south end of the park go to Deep Creek. There are 3 very short easy waterfall hikes there too. Another good one is Mingo falls in the same area (actually in Cherokke near the Blue Ridge Parkway entrance. Its a little challenging but one of the best waterfalls I have seen and not really that long of a hike just steep, however it's all wood deck and stairways, no rocks till the end.

We purchased a book from the gift shop at the park which has the waterfall locations for North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. It gives you all the info including easy of hike, distance, and flora and fauna to look for. We write in the book the dates and what we thought and are working our way thru it each time we visit.

Pigeon Forge...
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1,818 posts
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6. Re: Easy Hikes

The hikingthesmokies web site is a wodnderful tool for information on each hike as well as their ratings. I also agree with Little River Trail, also go out to Porter's Creek Trail, as well the Gatlinburg Trail, Oconaluftee Trail, and even try out the Deep Creek Trails near Bryson City, you can go slow on these (incline) and there are a couple of waterfalls out there to see along that set of trails.

I only have 1 lung and a heart condition (secondary pulmonary hypertension) as well, and have always told myself I can't do certain hikes. I just have learned to not call it quits, and hike with people who are willing to take it slow so that I can catch my breath. I think depedning on your version of 'out of shape', take the time to read the hikingthesmokies.com site and the descriptions of the trails. I have learned that the ones that have large gain in elevation in a short period of time are the ones that are difficult for me to do.

2 books that I can recommend are:

Day Hikers Guide to all the Trails in the Smoky Mountains

A Falcon Guide: Best Easy Day Hikes Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Eastern Kentucky...
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285 posts
29 reviews
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7. Re: Easy Hikes

I did Laurel Falls in flip-flops last spring. It's all paved and not a hard trail at all. You might try that one.

The Little River Trail is easy too.

paintsville ky
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8. Re: Easy Hikes

Laurel Falls is all up hill and believe me I had to stop often to rest but it is not that bad if you take your time and rest. kids was passing me up but who cares I finally made it to the top and it was beautiful... who says you have to hurry and get to the top, just stop often and enjoy the beautiful views of the mountains. I loved the Little River Trail at Elkmout campgrounds it was just a tiny, tiny grade along the beautiful river and we hiked for 2 hours and turned around because it goes on and on so you can just turn around anytime but there is no waterfalls at the end. we past hikers with tents on their backs and ask them how much farther to the end and they said it goes on for like 7 miles so we just turned around. but it is a great hike.

Lima, Ohio
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9. Re: Easy Hikes

Thanks for all of the responses. I will check out the info you gave me. I think we can surely do some while we're there. I did stop often at Clingman's Dome, but finally made it. We did that in the pouring rain, up & back down. I was never so wet & cold in my life.

Mississippi
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1,530 posts
21 reviews
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10. Re: Easy Hikes

There is indeed a waterfall 2.2 miles into the Little River Trail. It's called Husky Branch Falls, and it's actually a cascade that falls about 20 ft, runs under footbridge, and into the Little River.