5 of the Best Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains for Kids

wildflowers along Porters Creek Trail

If you have time between games and want to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you have to check out some of the hiking trails! You’ll love being able to get exercise and see some beautiful wonders these mountains have to offer. Your team will love getting a break from sports camps or tournaments while still getting exercise. Here are 5 of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains for kids:

1. Laurel Falls

A bridge beside Laurel Falls in the Smoky Mountains.One of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains for kids is Laurel Falls. This hike is one of the most popular trails in the Smokies since the path is paved. The roundtrip length is 2.6 miles, making it fairly simple for kids of any age. Some of the trail has steep drop offs, so be sure to keep an eye on kids at all times. Once you reach the top, you’ll come up to the 80-foot-tall waterfall. It has an upper section and a lower section separated by a footbridge. You can cross this bridge and access the water from the upper section easily, which is a great place to take pictures. Everyone will love this beautiful scenic feature!

2. Porters Creek Trail

For a hike that’s a little more moderate, you should take your team on Porters Creek Trail. This out-and-back hiking trail is 7 miles roundtrip. As you walk along the trail, you’ll be covered by tall trees, making it cool even on hot days. Along the way, you’ll come across an old cemetery and a historic farm site. Your kids will enjoy seeing what these old areas looked like back in the day. After 4 miles, you’ll finally see the waterfall; when it rains, water gushes over the rocks, creating a wonderful sight. Teams have fun spending time together in nature on this trail.

3. Gatlinburg Trail

gatlinburg trail in the smoky mountainsSince you’re already in Gatlinburg at our facility, why not head down the road to a hiking trail nearby? The Gatlinburg Trail is simple for kids of any age. This trail is 3.8 miles roundtrip and is open to dogs and horses. In the spring and early summer, you’ll see wildflowers lining the trail, and in the fall, you’ll find incredible colors of all shades in the trees. The kids will want to stop and play in the water of the creek near the foot bridge. This is a great hiking trail for a little extra time together and exercise.

4. Elkmont Nature Trail

If you have young kids with you, take them on the Elkmont Nature Trail. It’s not even a mile long, making it perfect for a short trip. You’ll walk beside streams, see many small woodland creatures, and all kinds of native plants. Parents and kids alike will have fun since this is one of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains for kids!

5. Cataract Falls

cataract falls in the smoky mountainsAnother one of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains for kids is Cataract Falls. The path along this trail is maintained with wooden posts along the ground so you know exactly where you’re going. You’ll walk across foot bridges, beside streams, and around cool trees. Eventually you’ll see Cataract Falls, a small waterfall that everyone will think is beautiful. Definitely take your team on this trail!

You have so many options when it comes to the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains for kids. They will love exploring the mountains! Wondering where you should stay while you’re here for a tournament or a camp? Check out our lodging options!