Day Hikes

Day Hikes of The Great Smoky Mountains – Best Trails

Distance is Round Trip. Please see Park Map for trail locations. T-1 next to name is trail location. Best Day hikes of the Great Smoky Mountains

Alum Cave to Mt. Le Conte • T-10
Distance: 10.2 Miles – Difficulty: Moderate
Many will argue that this trail is the best day hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. The trail is highlighted by Arch Rock, Huggins Hell, Inspir-ation Point, Alum Cave Bluff, and Le Conte lodge atop the mountain. The trail ranges from fairly level to steep and difficult, offering hikers the opportunity to view countless treasures and breathtaking views. At the top of Mount Le Conte, hikers can view a plethora of scenery standing at 6,593 feet above sea level.

Charlies Bunion • T-11
Distance: 8.0 Miles – Difficulty: Moderate
A heavily traveled day hike, the trail to Charlies Bunion follows the Appalachian Trail for a majority of your trek. Offering a moderately difficult hike, the trail is relatively easy with more difficult terrain towards the end of the trail. The highlight of this hike is the fine panoramic views that are available at both the beginning and the end of the hike. You can either stand atop Charlies Bunion, offering an easy resting place, or the Jump-Off. Both give visitors an amazing view that is well worth the walk.

Gregory Bald • T-12
Distance: 11.6 Miles – Difficulty: Strenuous
This day hike is not an easy one, but those who choose to take it can look forward to one of the finest views in the  Great Smoky Mountains. Overlooking the beautiful Cades Cove basin, Gregory Balds also offers a mid-June spectacle of azaleas. This hike is intended for experienced hikers and will often take an average of four hours just to reach the Balds.

Ramsay Cascades • T-13
Distance: 8.0 Miles – Difficulty: Strenuous
Ramsay Cascades offers one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains, but the trek arriving there can be very difficult to traverse. Though the trail begins as a fairly easy path, it becomes a rocky surface that can become very slick and dangerous when moist. Lying deep within the serene surroundings of the mountains, the trail takes visitors through pristine wilderness to two streams cascading over a ledge and forming an immaculate scene that begs for a picnic lunch. Though this trail offers an amazing destination, make sure that you are up to the trip.

Spence Field/Thunderhead • T-14
Distance: 12 Miles – Difficulty: Strenuous
This day hike begins at the Cades Cove Picnic Grounds and takes visitors on a tour that culminates at Thunderhead Mountain. Though the trip is not an easy one, it offers visitors the opportunity to view Thunderhead, the highest peak in the western Smokies, and Spence field, the largest bald in the park. This trail is fairly steep and offers quite a challenge to novice hikers, but it offers both spectacular views and magnificent scenery in route to an unforgettable destination.

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