Summer Hikes In The Great Smoky Mountains

Summer hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains are a great time to enjoy the many beautiful waterways that cross over hiking trails. Pack your hiking sandals and wear a swimsuit under your gear because you're going to get wet! Here are some of my top picks for summer hikes in the Smokies.

Meigs Creek Trail

The lovely 3.5 mile Meigs Creek Trail is a fairly easy stroll with 18 unbridged water crossings. You'll find the trailhead at The Sinks along Little River Gorge Road. This hike also features a waterfall about 1.5 miles in. You'll find that plenty of these water crossings are a great place to relax or do a little rock hopping. Use caution after heavy rain in the area!

Meigs Creek Trail

Big Creek Trail

If you want a trail with some great opportunities to get in the water, travel over to the west side of the park and check out the Big Creek campground. This easy hike has only a mild elevation gain and features a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole in just the first two miles. Go beyond this point and you'll find countless other spots to relax in some shallow water.

Big Creek Trail

Jakes Creek Loop

If you're equipped to hike around 18 miles in a single day, this Smoky Mountain loop is an awesome summer excursion. Start in Elkmont at the Jakes Creek trailhead, then follow Panther Creek, Middle Prong, Lynn Camp Prong, and Miry Ridge. The entire loop hike contains 23 glorious water crossings and one downright river at the end of Panther Creek Trail.

Jakes Creek Trail

Rich Mountain Loop

One of the more relaxed summer hikes, the Rich Mountain Loop around Cades Cove features several places to get your feet wet (around 7 water crossings), beautiful views of the cove itself, and the John Oliver cabin. There's also a great lunch and campfire spot at Cerulean Knob, the summit of the mountain, off a spur trail around 0.3 of a mile into Indian Grave Gap Trail.

Rich Mountain Loop

Baskins Creek Trail

This 2.7 mile trail runs right through the middle of Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg and features one of the least trafficked waterfall spur trails in the park. For much of the trail you will follow a soothing creek and cross over water more than once. Start at the Rainbow Falls parking lot on Trillium Gap Trail for 0.6 of a mile to find the trailhead.

Baskins Creek Trail

Caroline's GSM Hike Log

Hikes completed in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

GSM Hike


Total amount of miles hiked in the Great Smoky Mountains

RT Miles


Total amount of trails covered in the Great Smoky Mountains

Trail Miles


Total miles hiked on the GSMNP segment of the Appalachian Trail

AT Miles


Click here to read about more of Caroline's hikes

You Might Also Like

By continuing to use our website, you are accepting the use of cookies. For more information please read our privacy policy.