Climbing & Hiking Trails - 11 min read

15 Best Hiking Trails in Pigeon Forge (Pet & Family Friendly!)

Nicole Abbott

Nicole Abbott, Updated September 27, 2022

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The best place you’ll find hiking trails in Pigeon Forge is The Great Smoky Mountains. Pigeon Forge has some of the best waterfalls for cooling off during those hot summer months and features many strenuous trails for great workouts. Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a great adventure the whole family will enjoy.

Along the way, you’ll see plenty of breathtaking mountaintops and scenic trails to view all of nature’s beauty. This area may have its challenges, but having your option of different hiking levels can make your outing more enjoyable. Here are our top fifteen trails in Pigeon Forge.

**Please Remember: Before traveling to any trail, please call ahead to check operating hours and if there are any parking fees. To make sure you have the best hiking experience, make sure you pack a hat, sunscreen, water, food, hiking boots, and bug spray. You will also make sure you download maps and directions ahead of time as some trails are not well-marked and there’s little to no cell service.

15 Best Hiking Trails in Pigeon Forge

1. Appalachian Trail: Clingman Cove to Cades Cove

Credit: Eakkarat Rangram

Clingman Cave to Cades Cove is a moderately challenging hike that takes a total of thirteen hours to complete. Since this is such a long hike, dogs are not allowed on this trail so you’ll need to leave your furry friends at home. If you want to take this hike on, you’ll want to practice on that stair stepper! This is a challenging hike for the experienced hiker. The views are stunning and the trails are well-maintained which is perfect for a long trip.

Starting at Clingman’s Dome, you’ll spend only a mile ascending to the top. The remainder of the hike is all descend. This isn’t a heavily used trail and you won’t see much wildlife. There is no cellphone service and the terrain isn’t always stable. Based on reviews, visitors say this trail has amazing views, so make sure you bring a camera along.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 23.9
Total Elevation Gain: 3,402 Feet

2. Charles Bunion Trail

Credit: Kent Weakley

The Charles Bunion trail is a moderately challenging hike that will take you around four hours to complete. This trail is an awesome hike along the Great Smoky Mountains. For the first mile, you start off ascending through the heavily wooded forest. The trail is well-marked and can sometimes be very wet after recent rain so make sure you wear a good pair of hiking boots. Along the way, you’ll get a glimpse of the valley and other mountains that peek through the trees.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a rocky hike. If you’re looking for a peaceful, but challenging hike, you can’t pass this one up.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 1,886 Feet

Related Read: 40 BEST Things To Do in Pigeon Forge, TN

3. Laurel Falls 

Credit: Jim Vallee

Laurel Falls is an easy hike that will take you around an hour to complete. This is a paved trail that is family-friendly, but some areas may be difficult as they’ve deteriorated with age, so strollers and wheelchairs may be a problem. The rocks among the falls are slippery and it’s recommended to not climb to avoid injury. Bikes and pets are not allowed on this hike due to park rules. This trail is very busy on weekends so if you’re looking for a less-crowded hike, we recommend hiking in the early morning on the weekdays.

Based on reviews, visitors say this trail has some great inclines and a beautiful waterfall. Be careful with small children around the cliffs as they offer no protection.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 2.4 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 396 Feet

4. Little River Trail to Grouse Creek Campground

Credit: Weidman Photography

The Little River Trail to Grouse Creek Campground is an easy hike that takes around five hours to complete. This trail is open all year long, but it’s not pet-friendly, so you’ll need to leave dogs at home. The trail is flat which gives it its easy rating and you can even go fishing. It’s an easy out and back trail especially if you’re looking for wildflowers. There’s a river that runs next to the trail with a waterfall and wooden bridges.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a beautiful, well-marked trail that can often become muddy after recent rain. The end of the trail gets a little rocky so make sure you wear a good pair of hiking boots.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 12.3 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 1,213 Feet

Related Read: Best Time To Visit Tennessee

5. Anthony Creek Trail

Credit: Natwick

Anthony Creek trail is one of the most popular, hard hikes near Pigeon Forge. Be sure to bring plenty of water and food as this hike can become a bit strenuous. This trail has beautiful scenery, but due to park rules, dogs are not permitted on this trail. The Anthony Creek trail is a single trail that connects the Cades Cove area to the Bote Mountain Trail.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a challenging hike with a beautiful view. The trail is uphill the whole way so be prepared to break a sweat!

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 11.7 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 3,671 Feet

6. Cane Creek Trail

Credit: Ryan Carlson

The Cane Creek trail is one of the easiest hikes you can get to. It is not recommended to hike this trail after a recent rainfall because you’ll be wading in the creek. There is a set of waterfalls that you can also hike to see. Along your hike, you may see frogs and other amphibians in the wetlands.

Based on reviews, visitors say this trail is well-maintained and a pleasant hike. These trails are a bit buggy so make sure to pack bug spray for your trip.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 39 Feet

7. Hannah Mountain Trail

Credit: Weidman Photgraphy

The Hannah Mountain Trail is a moderately challenging trail that takes around eight hours to complete. It is open all year long but is not pet-friendly so you’ll need to leave dogs at home. This trail is a flat trail through the forest with very few views. Among the scenery, you’ll see white pine and a variety of oaks.

Based on reviews, this is a peaceful trail and not too hard even for the inexperienced hiker.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 18.1 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 2,910 Feet

8. Rich Mountain Loop Trail

Credit: Nate Hovee

The Rich Mountain Loop Trail is a moderately challenging hike that will take you around four hours to complete. The best times you’ll want to visit the trail are from March to October. Not only is this trail great for hiking, but it’s perfect for backpacking, horseback riding, running, walking, and camping. If you want to explore Cades Cove without it being too crowded, this trail is perfect for you. If you’re lucky, you may even see deer and black bears.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a well-maintained trail with decent views. There isn’t water on the trail so you’ll want to make sure you pack plenty of water and food. This trail also has some steep areas, but they are fairly manageable. You will also come across areas that have loose terrain so make sure you wear a good pair of hiking boots.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 8.3 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 1,991 Feet

9. Elkmont Nature Trail

Credit: Jess14Fal

The Elkmont Nature trail is an easy hike that will take you around twenty minutes to complete. If you want a quick trail run, this trail is a perfect warm-up for the beginner hiker. If you hike this trail clockwise, you’ll get the small climb out of the way. After that, you’ll go through several switchbacks that will make your hike easier. If you need a break, there are several benches along the way for resting.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a nice and quiet trail. If you plan to hike after recent rain, make sure you wear a pair of water-resistant boots as you may experience muddy conditions.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 0.8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 95 Feet

10. Bullhead Trail

Credit: Jess14Fal

The Bullhead Trail is a hard hike that will take you around eight and a half hours to complete. The hike on the way up is gorgeous and you’ll even get to pass rainbow falls. Making it to the top is very strenuous, but if you do, the views can be very rewarding. The trail is rocky and not very well-maintained, so make sure you bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots. The trail can become narrow at times and is near the edge of the cliff.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a strenuous hike with beautiful views. If you have a fear of heights, you’ll experience plenty of edges so you may want to opt for a different trail to hike.

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 14.8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 3,959 Feet

Related Read: 27 Best Romantic Getaways In Tennessee

11. Baskins Creek Trail

Credit: Urvashi Gupta

The Baskins Creek Trail is a moderately challenging hike that will take you around two hours to complete. This is a perfect trail that is not overly crowded, quiet and scenic, and challenging enough to give you a great workout. In the beginning, you will start up the hill a bit and go over the mountain with nice views. There is a steep descent before you get to the falls so make sure you come prepared. The waterfall is great, not crowded, but can be a bit strenuous on the way back up. Based on reviews, visitors say their favorite part of this hike is the scenery.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 3.1 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 912 Feet

12. Gatlinburg Trail

Credit: Aaron McCoig

The Gatlinburg Trail is an easy hiking trail in which bikes and dogs are allowed. The trail is flat and runs through the forest along The Little River. During your hike, you’ll have beautiful views of the river and be able to cross a pedestrian footbridge. This trail will take you a little over an hour to hike and is also great for walking, running, and mountain biking. The Gatlinburg Trail is a great beginner trail so if have little to no experience hiking, you’ll want this to be your starter hike.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a great hike for families and has plenty of resting spots along the way if you need a break. The trail is very well-maintained and easy to navigate.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.9 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 164 Feet

Related Read: 20 Top Treehouse Rentals in Gatlinburg, Tennessee

13. Gregory Bald Trail

Credit: Vasyl Yosypchuk

The Gregory Bald Trail is a hard hike that is difficult to complete even for the experienced hiker. It’s a strenuous hike due to its steep elevation changes. Out and back, this trail will take you around six hours to complete, seven hours at the latest. If you’re not in great physical condition, we recommend not hiking this trail. In April, you’ll be able to see the beautiful wildflowers and in June you’ll be able to see the Azaleas.

Based on reviews, visitors say this trail has a beautiful breeze with amazing views. This trail is well-maintained and a definite butt-kicker.

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 11.6 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 3,359 Feet

14. Spruce Flats Falls

Credit: Howard Foster

Spruce Flats Falls is a moderately challenging hike that takes around an hour to complete. This is a popular hiking trail so it can become very crowded. If you want a less-crowded hike, it’s recommended to visit this trail in the early morning or on the weekday. This trail is not pet-friendly so you’ll need to leave dogs at home. The trail is pretty steep and rugged, but it has amazing views.

Based on reviews, visitors say to bring hiking shoes and water shoes for the waterfall. The best time to go to this trail is around 8 AM when there are little to no visitors at the waterfall.

Difficulty: Moderate
Distance: 1.8 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 413 Feet

15. Kephart Prong Trail

Credit: Weidman Photography

The Kephart Prong Trail is a popular, easy hiking trail that is recommended to visit in the early morning hours to avoid the crowd. It will take you about two hours to complete this hike. Sections of this trail are rocky with exposed boots, so you’ll want to make sure you bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Occasionally, you may even see horses along this trail.

Based on reviews, visitors say this is a great family-friendly trail that even small children will enjoy.

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 3.9 Miles
Total Elevation Gain: 833 Feet

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