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Secret Hiking trails

Kettering, Ohio...
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Secret Hiking trails

Well I know I won't find any "secret" hikes but am looking for maybe less crowded hikes. The weather this week is calling for rain everyday we are there so that might help with crowds.

Maybe harder hikes that are not kid friendly would be a good option. I plan on hiking to the chimney tops (I know this will be crowded).

Any suggestions would be awesome!

Thank you


Wilder, KY
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1. Re: Secret Hiking trails

Check out this site - http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com/ for a guide on difficulty ratings. I'll flip it around on you and tell you which hikes to avoid if you want to be fairly secluded...

(In approximate order, meaning most popular at the top)

Laurel Falls

Abrams Falls

Grotto Falls

Rainbow Falls

Alum Cave (although this hike all the way to the peak of LeConte may be the best hike in the park....)

Chimney Tops

Deep Creek Loop

Little River Trail

Mouse Creek Falls

Charlies Bunion

Andrews Bald

Ramsay Cascades

I listed those, but I would recommend doing all of them at least once. They are popular for a reason. Any trail that's relatively close to Gatlinburg, Cherokee or Cades Cove is going to be fairly popular. Obviously the longer the hike, the less crowded it will be. A couple shorter hikes that we liked that weren't very crowded were:

Spruce Flats Falls (you may have to google this one, it's not on some of the guides)

Baskins Creek Falls

Hen Wallow Falls

Happy Trails!

Kettering, Ohio...
4 posts
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2. Re: Secret Hiking trails

Great info. Really appreciate you taking the time. Your post came in good time. Stuck on 75s at the Kentucky Tennessee border. Time to do some reading.

Louisville, Kentucky
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611 posts
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3. Re: Secret Hiking trails

I completely agree with Shorner's post above. I would suggest Rocky Top for a less crowded hike. It's one of my favorite hikes and both times we've hiked it there were few people on the trail. It's long and somewhat strenuous, but the views are fabulous.


cincinnati, ohio
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2,412 posts
238 reviews
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4. Re: Secret Hiking trails

You'll also find that if you look carefully, particularly around the "quiet walkways", like just beyond the Laurel Falls parking lot, are paths that lead into the forest. These are the remains of the narrow gauge rail lines that were cut into the mountains at the turn of the 20th century when these hills were clear cut by the logging companies based in Townsend. They have the gentle slope required by railways and many continue for great distances. They're readily apparent in the winter when the leaves are down but if you're alert you can find many throughout the park even now. Just look for what appear to be abandoned roadbeds on a hillside, then go investigate - like I did when I got tired of discourteous summer hikers and began searching for peace and quiet.

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371 posts
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5. Re: Secret Hiking trails

Stop at the visitors center and check, but I think the chimney tops trail is closed until November for repairs.

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118 posts
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6. Re: Secret Hiking trails

Spruce Flats Falls is our favorite all time hike. A little challenging, but SO worth it to see the beautiful falls and avoid the crowds. Not many visitors find out about it (shhhhhh).

Townsend, Tennessee
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1 post
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7. Re: Secret Hiking trails

Try Finley Cane to Bote Mountain. About 4.5 miles. Have done it many times and rarely see anyone.

Melbourne, Florida
Destination Expert
for Melbourne, Florida
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8. Re: Secret Hiking trails

Also look at Hen Wallow Falls over in Cosby. I haven't gotten to do this one yet but its on my list. Cosby being further away from the park it will not be crowded. You can also head out to the BRP. There are several trails along there. Graveyard Fields has a nice waterfall with a pool at the bottom. Its not unknown but was not overly crowded when we went there. Grotto Falls is a nice hike and great waterfall but it can have a fair amount of people hiking there. Not as crowded as Laurel Falls but still a popular place.

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9. Re: Secret Hiking trails


Chimney Tops Trail is OPEN on Fridays-Sundays. It is closed the rest of the week for renovations until mid-October. The work that has already been completed is really nice...

Phoenix, Arizona
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40,410 posts
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10. Re: Secret Hiking trails


I give a +1 for Rainbow Falls, as it seems to be off the radar screen of many visitors, and is lovely.