gatlinburg trail foot bridge

Everything You Need To Know About The Gatlinburg Trail

If you’re new to hiking or are simply looking for an easy hike to take the kids on, The Gatlinburg Trail is the best place to start! It’s a must for families, couples, or solo hiking enthusiasts– you won’t regret adding The Gatlinburg Trail to your schedule. Keep reading to learn more about this family-friendly hiking trail in the Smokies:

How To Get To The Gatlinburg Trail

great smoky mountains national park signThere are two trailheads for this trail. One is on River Road, just passed The Peddler Steakhouse and within walking distance from our downtown Gatlinburg hotel! The second trailhead location begins at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, which is only a couple of miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park entrance. It doesn’t matter which trailhead you decide to start your hike with, but we recommend checking out the Sugarlands Visitor Center while you’re there. You’ll want to see the interesting exhibits and learn about the national park and its history; plus, you can find trail guides and more information for your trip!

What To Expect On The Gatlinburg Trail 

The Gatlinburg Trail is 1.9 miles long, making it a 3.8-mile roundtrip hike. Plan to spend at least a couple of hours on the trail so you can take your time and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. You’ll be able to enjoy walking along the river, watching for wildlife, and seeing remnants of an old homestead, including an old chimney. At one point, there’s a bridge crossing the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River, and you’ll have a short climb on the other side. The rest of the gravel trail is flat with plenty of surrounding wooded landscape to admire. If you make it to the visitor center and don’t feel like heading back just yet, the trailhead to Cataract Falls is accessible there and only adds a little over a mile to your hike. This waterfall hike is also considered easy and great for children too!

Additional Info About The Gatlinburg Trail 

river along the gatlinburg trailIt’s plain to see why this easy Smoky Mountain hiking trail is so popular! Here are a few more things to know about The Gatlinburg Trail before you visit:

  • The Gatlinburg Trail is pet-friendly– dogs are not allowed on the other hiking trails, but as long as they’re on a leash, you’re good to bring them along on this one!
  • You can also ride your bike on this trail– this is also one of the only trails available for bikers in the national park since it’s relatively flat. 
  • It’s the only trail accessible from downtown Gatlinburg– the trailhead entrance on River Road makes it so easy to begin the hike right from town if you want!

We are conveniently located just a few steps from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park and The Gatlinburg Trail! Browse our hotel rooms and come see why families love staying with us.