Top Kid Hikes in the Smoky Mountains

What could be better than going out with your kids on a sunny day and exploring the beauty of nature? Going on hikes in the Smoky Mountains is a great way to bond as a family, be active and learn about the outdoor world. Pack some snacks and water and head out for an adventure on one of these kid friendly hikes in the Smoky Mountains.

Elkmont Nature Trail

The Elkmont Nature Trail is a great kid hike because it is short and filled with opportunities to learn about the forest ecosystem. Although the self-guided walk is less than a mile long, it is designed to educate visitors about how the landscape evolves from time to time.

Elkmont Nature Trail

There is even a point on the trail where you can see the traces of the railroad underneath the new forest growth. While the kids are enjoying looking at tracks, the parents can pick up a brochure and read about the areas history.

Cataract Falls

The very short and easy hike to and from Cataract Falls makes for about one mile roundtrip. You will find the trailhead to the left of Sugarlands Visitor Center south of Gatlinburg. This makes a great hike for kids because it's not too long to tire them out, they'll love the waterfall, and there's plenty of cool things to see along the way.

Cataract Falls

Laurel Falls Trail

This scenic trail was originally created in 1932 to provide local fire crews with access to Cove Mountain in case of a forest fire. It is a paved trail, so it’s a lot easier for little feet to navigate than trails with bumps and exposed tree roots. Another reason the Laurel Falls Trail is named a top kid hike is because of the impressive waterfall at the end.

Laurel Falls Trail

This a gorgeous spot for photo opportunities, but make sure you supervise your children—there are some steep drop offs and slippery rocks near the falls themselves. We also strongly recommend starting your hike early in the morning to beat the crowds, as this is a popular trail.

Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

Parents with newborns and infants will love the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail because it is the only trail in the park that is wheelchair accessible. Not only does this mean it is a flat kids hike, but it also means parents can easily take a stroller on the hike as well. This half-mile, circular route is great for people of all ages to get some fresh air.

Sugarlands Visitors Center

Pick up a guide booklet at the trail head for more information about the trail. As you wind along this relaxing stroll next to the stream, you will see the remains of the old Smoky Mountain vacation homes from the early 1900’s.

Porter's Creek Trail

This trail is a great kids hike in the Smoky Mountains for families who are looking for a moderate hike through quiet forests filled with waterfalls and wildflowers. It is a 4 mile journey, and it will take you past a cemetery from the early 20th century, the remnants of an old mountain community and the 19th century John Messer farm site.

Porters Creek Trail

Mouse Creek Falls

This hike takes place on Big Creek Trail in North Carolina. It is a great choice for kids because the 2.1 mile portion of the trail is smooth and even. After about 1.3 miles, you'll find Big Creek and hear the soothing sounds of rushing water for the rest of the hike. Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls await you at the end of this short hike.

Big Creek Trail

These are just a few of the best kid hikes in the Smoky Mountains. It is never too early to hike the wilderness with your little ones and start teaching them the importance of nature. Once you cross these off your list, you can also try our list of Beginner Hiking Trails in The Smokies.

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