Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA
Photo courtesy of Andrew Saucier/Tennessee Department of Tourist Development
Laurel FallsHiking the Appalachian Trail is a bucket-list adventure for many outdoor enthusiasts, but the trip from end to end stretches more than 2,000 miles. For something a little quicker, hike the 2.5-mile section to and from the breathtaking Laurel Falls. The trip may still take a couple of hours—there are steep, occasionally slick sections and a few big drop-offs—but the trail is paved the entire way. Your efforts will be rewarded by views of an 80-foot waterfall with an upper and lower section divided by a walkway over Laurel Branch, the stream that takes runoff from the falls.
about 5 years ago
Short Hike to a Big Falls
Laurel Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The easily accessible, paved trail is a 1.3 mile trek up Cove Mountain that culminates in a spectacular view of the 80-foot, multi-level waterfall. At the falls are many great photo opportunities thanks to a footbridge that spans the bottom of the upper falls. Large rock outcroppings offer room for the many visitors to view the cascades without too much interference as well as offering a spot for a respite after the hike in. Be sure to get to the trailhead early. Being such a popular hike, the small parking facilities fill up fast. Early hikers also get more time to admire the views along the way before the trail begins to get crowded with day tourists. Take along some water and maybe a light snack to have an impromptu picnic with a gorgeous backdrop. Laurel Falls is a great hike for novices and families, as well as more seasoned hikers looking for photogenic landscapes.