Best Fall Hikes

Best Fall Hikes in the Smokies

Are the mountains calling your name? Are you ready for another chance to spend some much needed time on the Best Fall Hikes before winter comes along again? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park stretches out for over 800 square miles and it’s full of excitement and beautiful views that can make any trip a memorable one. Best of all, it’s absolutely free to visit the park and you can surely make an action packed day or two out of spending some time here with the family. Now that Fall has officially begun, the views you’ll get to see throughout your trip just can’t be beat. The leaves will be changing colors all around you, we’ll be getting that cool and crisp weather, and you may even get to see some of our amazing wildlife. If one of the most important parts of visiting during this particular season for you is getting to see the views, you will definitely want to visit the park at least once. One of the most popular things to do in the Smokies is hiking and we have so many incredible trails you’ll want to check out. We have everything from easy to strenuous hikes, so everyone can find at least one to venture out on.  Let’s take a look at some of the Best Fall Hikes in the Smokies so you can really take in all the beauty that surrounds us at this  wonderful time!

  • Alum Cave Trail – This 4.4 mile round trip hike is considered to be moderate in difficulty and it’s one of the most popular trails you can find. You will want to arrive here early, so you can take your time and enjoy the stunning views. This particular trail is one that shows off some of the most incredible geological formations that you’ll find in our park. At just over a mile into your journey, you’ll come across Arch Rock. The black slate rock over time has come to create a natural and beautiful arch made out of the eroded rock. There are steps made out of stone with a cable wire handrail to make it up so you can continue your journey. Please keep in mind that these steps can become extremely slippery, so please proceed with caution. There are also plenty of overlooks including Inspiration Point, so you can take a break and snap a few panoramic photos of the magical Autumn colors that are dancing around and taking over your viewpoint. This will be one trail that you may never forget.
  • Andrews Bald – This is another moderate trail that is only 3.5 miles round trip. If you’re wanting to see fantastic views of the Great Smoky Mountain highlands, this is right where you want to be. You are actually hiking on Forney Creek Trail which leads you to Andrews Bald. Once here, you’ll get to see stunning views of the grassy meadow and the panoramic vistas. As an added bonus, you’ll also get to see Fontana Lake and the southern side of the Smokies with their wide array of Fall colors going on.
  • Baskins Creek Falls – This is considered an easy trail and is only 3 miles round trip. This popular beginner friendly waterfall hike will take you through the forest so you can see all those gorgeous harvest colors dancing right above you. You’ll also get to see the Baskins Cemetery, historic cabins, a small creek, the falls (a 40 foot, two-tiered waterfall), and small glimpses of Gatlinburg. This is an amazing hike to start out with and one of the most scenic best fall hikes
  • Charlies Bunion – This is a very popular but strenuous trail. It’s 8.1 miles round trip and does require a steady climb, but the majestic mountain views make up for it! You’ll get to see views of the North Carolina side of the Smokies that will be filled with those beautiful orange, red, and yellow colors that will seem like they expand on for miles. If you continue on, you will be greeted by views of Mt. LeConte and Myrtle Point. Once you reach Charlies Bunion, be very cautious as there are numerous steep drop-offs, but you will love getting to take in the sights of the mountains to the north of you. It’s so worth it, trust us.
  • Elkmont Nature Trail – If the kiddos are with you, this is one of the best family friendly hikes you’ll find in the Smokies. It’s a little less than a mile long and it features some beautiful nature views as well as the history of the Elkmont area. We are sure that the entire family will love this one.
  • Gatlinburg Trail – This is another popular and family friendly hike. It’s only 1.9 miles round trip and it runs throughout the forest offering everyone those magical views that we love during this time of year. The trail also runs along the Little Pigeon River, so you’ll get to hear the water flowing by as well, making for such a serene atmosphere. It’s also a pet friendly trail!
  • Gregory Bald – This is another strenuous hike and is 11.3 miles round trip. This particular trail has stunning views year round, but they’re even more special during the Autumn. Here you’ll get to see unforgettable views of Cades Cove and the Southeastern part of the National Park. You’ll get to pass through forests that will be dazzling you with colors making the trail well worth the hike.
  • Laurel Falls – This easy waterfall hike is only 2.3 miles round trip, but it’s one that will go down in the books as one of your favorites. It is very popular, so you’ll definitely want to get here as early as possible. You’ll get to see a spectacular 80-foot waterfall as well as luscious views of the mountains that are nearby, so have your cameras ready. This is also a family friendly hike, but be sure to still keep an eye on them, especially when your reach the waterfall.
  • Mt. Cammerer – This strenuous 11.1 mile round trip hike comes with a special added bonus – a fire tower! Once there, you’ll get to look out over the incredible panoramic views of the Tennessee Valley and our popular Little Pigeon River. Getting to see the Fall Foliage from this incredible fire tower will end up being an experience you will never forget. You just can’t beat the views you’ll be greeted by here.
  • Porters Creek Trail –  This four mile round trip hike is considered moderate in difficulty and will offer you stunning views of the Autumn colors as well as some of our authentic history. It starts with an old gravel road, making it another family friendly trail as well. You’ll come across remnants of the Elbert Cantrell farmstead and the John Messer farmsite. You’ll also get to see the Ownby Cemetery before getting to come across the gorgeous views that this particular trail has to offer.

We hope you enjoyed reading about some of our Best Fall Hikes in the Smokies! While there are plenty more to mention, these are some of our absolute favorites that we’re sure everyone will enjoy. Now all you need is a relaxing place to come back to after spending your time outdoors in this beautiful weather. When you stay with us at Big Bear Resort, we offer two bedroom mountain view vacation condos for you and the family to enjoy. Not only will you get to enjoy the fall foliage while you’re out and about, but you’ll also get to see it from the comfort of your private balcony. As a thank you for being our guest, you also receive FREE TICKETS to numerous places in town, saving you $275 a day. Come and join our family, we would love to have you! Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let us know what you think about the Best Fall Hikes in the Smokies, we love getting to hear your feedback!

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