Ramsey Cascades water fall in the Smoky Mountains.

5 of the Best Summer Hikes in the Smoky Mountains

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains is a summer activity that attracts thousands to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can explore the great outdoors, admire breathtaking mountain views, watch the wildlife, and so much more just by hiking in the Smokies! Before you book your trip, check out 5 of the best summer hikes in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Clingmans Dome

Clingmans DomeHiking to Clingmans Dome is an easy hike, less than 2 miles roundtrip, and has one of the best observation towers in the Smokies! The entire trail is paved, so it’s great for families with children and people with disabilities who can’t enjoy other hiking trails. You can enjoy 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains at over 6,000 feet, making it a perfect place to watch the sun set in the evening.

2. Appalachian Trail: Newfound Gap to Charlies Bunion

You can get a taste of the Appalachian Trail by hiking to Charlies Bunion. This is an intense hike with gorgeous views of the mountains and cliffs. This is a 4-mile hike one way, but it will take you to Charlies Bunion, one of the most beautiful natural outlooks. And you may catch the Appalachian Trail fever and want to go all the way to the end in Maine!

3. Alum Cave Trail

Alum Cave Trail in great smoky mountains national parkThe Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park and contains some of nature’s most peculiar wonders, such as old trees, caves, and the famous Arch Rock. You’ll find stone features that are incredible along this hiking trail. Make the 4-mile roundtrip hike to the bluffs or the 5-mile hike to the base of Mount LeConte. Either way, you will enjoy spectacular views. This a great hike in the summer when the weather is perfect, but it is also beautiful in the fall when all of the leaves change to their glorious reds, yellows, and oranges! So you’ll want to plan a trip back in the fall to see all the gorgeous colors!

4. Ramsey Cascades

Hiking to the Ramsey Cascades will not disappoint; Ramsey Cascades is actually a 100-foot waterfall, the tallest accessible waterfall in the entire Smoky Mountains National Park! Water rolls over many tiers of rocks, creating a beautiful natural look. This is a long hike, almost an 8-mile round trip but reaching the waterfall makes it one of the most rewarding hikes in the Smoky Mountains.

5. Abrams Falls

swimming holes in GatlinburgAnother waterfall hike, Abrams Falls is a moderately difficult hike midway through Cades Cove. The beginning of the trail takes you through old forest growth. Once you reach the river, you’ll find people fishing and enjoying the cool water in the summer. This is a great spot for beautiful pictures and quiet picnics. Although it is smaller than the Ramsey Cascades, it’s still a spectacular display that you won’t want to miss! The Abrams Falls hike is about 5 miles roundtrip and can take 3 to 4 hours to complete.

Now that you know a few of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains, check out other fun things to do on our area information page.