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. 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.
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.
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.
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 four-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. The trekk conveniently starts down a gravel road near the Greenbrier entrance to the Smoky Mountain National Park.
Alum Buff Cave Trail
This is one of the most popular trails in the park. When you see the stunning views from the top lookout, you will understand why. Alum Buff Cave Trail is a beautiful trail divided into two sections. The first part leads up to Alum Bluff Cave which is an old mine. From that point you can turn back if the little ones are tired, or continue to the second part which takes you to the top of LeConte Mountain. This is a great hike for kids who have previous hiking experience because it is longer than the other kid hikes mentioned, totaling 11 miles round trip.
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.