HIKING IN EAST TENNESSEE
Life at The Preserve offers year-round activities, one of which is the ever-changing hiking trails found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rest assured, there is no shortage of places to explore. Keep reading to discover the National Park Service‘s most popular hikes in the Smokies.
Most Popular Trails in the Smoky Mountains
The Preserve is surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which offers trails for people of all ages and skill levels. Even when you think you have seen it all, you will be amazed by how the trails change from season to season, from the sights revealed by the falling leaves in the winter, wild flowers in the spring, the relief of shade trees, falls, and streams in the summer, and the crisp, dry air and colors of the fall.
Though there are hundreds of miles of trails within a two-hour drive of English Mountain Preserve, the following list hits some of the region’s high points.
Following the Appalachian Trail, this 4-mile hike one-way features breathtaking mountain views on the way to a stone outcrop familiarly known as “Charlies Bunion.”
In a mere 2.3 miles, this trail takes hikers through an old-growth hardwood forest, the narrow tunnel of Arch Rock, and a view of the rugged valley from the rocky outcrop of Inspiration Point.
More adventurous hikers will find it worthwhile to continue on the trail until it reaches the summit of Mount Le Conte with sweeping views of exposed cliffs.
While steep, the spectacular views seen along this trail makes it one of the most popular in the Park. After crossing three streams and ascending the side of a mountain, hikers follow the side of Sugarland Mountain where they get a view of Mount Le Conte. When the trail first descends, hikers find themselves at the top of the first “chimney.”
Beginning at Clingmans Dome, this trail descends hikers to a broad ridge and then ascends again to the grassy Andrews Bald, named for the cattle herder, Andres Thompson, who brought livestock there in the 1840s. Seasonally, hikers are greeted by patches of blackberries and raspberries, as well as Fraser firs and a wildflower known as bluets.
While strenuous, this appropriately-named trail offers plenty of unique sightings, including rosebay rhododendron, teaberry, mountain pepper-bush, and occasionally. Pink lady’s slippers. After crossing a few creeks, the falls appear, named for the rainbows caused by the afternoon sun. In the winter, hikers may be lucky enough to see this 80 foot falls frozen into an hourglass shape.