Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the worst kept secret of the East, is perennially overrun with hikers, tourists and passersby looking to 'rough it' in Blue Ridge Mountains. Hiking in the smokies can be almost impossible on holiday weekends because of its popularity, and driving along its scenic routes equal parts rewarding and infuriating. Even so, Smoky Mountain hiking trails will make it worth your while. Families in particular love the park, and many make a trek down smoky mountain trails an annual tradition. If you visit this popular park, be sure to make a stop at some of our favorite trails. They will give you a picture into the natural past of Tennessee and North Carolina forests.
Even locals hardly know about this secluded spot
These 8 miles of Appalachian dream are among the best 100 miles of trail in the whole national park system.
Wander from bubbling cascades to scenic balds to wide ridgelines to old-growth forest on this classic 12.5-mile, 2-day loop in the shadow of several 5,000-foot peaks.
Climb Mt. Sterling and hike through history on this 16.4-mile loop through the eastern Smokies.
Rising 2,500-plus feet over 4.6 miles, this strenuous trail zigzags through hemlock and rhododendron to a pair of exposed ridges with long Appalachian views.
This moderate 5.5-mile loop on the eastern boundary of the Smokies combines stellar woodland hiking with superb waterfall exploration.
This 13.2-mile loop is classic Smokies: free-flowing creeks, wide valley views, and hardwood forests peppered with long-abandoned homesites.
Get away for a night or three on this 12.8-mile lasso loop that delivers you to the high reaches of the Great Smoky Mountains.
This 7.3-mile out-and-back has all the highlights you expect from a Smokies outing: trailside streams, old-growth timber stands, and a raging waterfall.
Waterfall aficionados: This challenging 5.2-mile route traces a tumbling creek, then passes under an old-growth forest to one of the park's highest cascades.
This 7-mile loop is a trailside study of the past: old cabins, ancient forests, and the legacy of a pioneering conservationist.
This 18.7-mile weekend trip starts with a 2,700-foot climb up Snowbird Mountain then descends and climbs again to Max Patch, an old homestead and logging camp.
This 16-miler packs big vertical change and diverse landscapes (from grassy campsites to mountain summits) into a two-night trip.
Ascend to the second highest point east of the Mississippi on this 8-mile point-to-point that begins at Newfound Gap and winds through misty coniferous forest.
Trek deep into the Smokies on this 24.3-mile weekend trip that traces the North Carolina-Tennessee state line, passing two trail shelters and forests of mossy hardwoods.
Bag one of the Smokies' most thrilling peaks on this 12.6-mile shuttle hike that takes in ridgetop views before tackling a rocky, high exposure descent.
Trek into the past on this 6-day route linking a rock arch, 5,000-foot balds, old settler homesites, and 100-year-old cemeteries.
A peakbagger's dream, this 31-mile Smokies backpack loops across forested ridgelines, offering the opportunity to tag eight 6,000-foot summits along the way.