Discover the wonders of the Smoky Mountains with your children by exploring kid-friendly trails that will keep them engaged and excited. Whether your little ones are just starting to walk or seeking thrilling adventures, there is a trail perfectly suited for every family. Take a look at these five trails that promise memorable experiences:
Embark on a popular trail suitable for all ages, leading you to the breathtaking 80-foot-high Laurel Falls. Covering a 2.4-mile round trip, this paved trail offers a gradual incline, allowing young legs to stay active without getting too tired. Encourage your kids to stay alert, as they might even catch a glimpse of bears. Pro tip: Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds, increasing your chances of spotting wildlife that prefers to stay away from bustling trails.
For a leisurely stroll that accommodates dogs and bikes, the Gatlinburg Trail is the perfect choice. Stretching along the riverside, this 3.8-mile round trip trail connects the Sugarlands Visitor Center to downtown Gatlinburg. Your family can enjoy close proximity to the water and the convenience of a level pavement, ideal for strollers.
Begin your adventure at the Sugarlands Visitor Center's parking lot and embark on the three-quarter-mile Cataract Falls Trail. This gravel path offers a chance to escape unfavorable weather conditions or heat with a visit to the center's exhibits and restrooms. Kids will relish crossing sturdy bridges over Fighting Creek, where they might encounter salamanders and woodpeckers. Most strollers can navigate this trail comfortably.
Featuring rustic, split-log bridges and remnants of long-gone settlements, the Metcalf Bottoms Trail covers a manageable 1.5 miles round trip. Immerse yourselves in history by visiting the 1882 Little Greenbrier Schoolhouse, a log cabin that provides a glimpse into the past. Let your kids unleash their imagination as they envision attending classes during the chalkboard days. Additionally, a small cemetery serves as a reminder of the school's dual function as a church. Note that this trail is not recommended for strollers.
If your family is still brimming with energy after exploring the Metcalf Bottoms Trail, consider continuing your adventure on the 2.6-mile round trip Little Brier Gap Trail. Experience the beauty of spring wildflowers and the occasional bear sighting along the way. However, the highlight of this trail is the Walker homestead, where five self-sufficient sisters resided for many years as the national park took shape around them. Encourage your children to explore the cabin, springhouse, and corn crib, allowing their imaginations to transport them to a time when everything was grown and made on the farm.
Create lasting memories as you venture into the Smoky Mountains with your youngsters, embracing the wonders of nature and the rich history that surrounds these magnificent trails.