Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains is one of the main reasons people choose to visit Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. One of the most favored times to visit is for a fall vacation. Let’s say you have booked your vacation and know that you want to explore, but you aren’t quite sure where to start since you are not one that hikes in nature often? We have put together a list of short fall hikes to try. These are great for spending a little bit of time on the hiking trails without pushing yourself too much.
Juney Whank Falls
If you are spending the day in the Cherokee area of the National Park, we recommend you spend a little time hiking up to this waterfall. This waterfall is a short distance from the Deep Creek parking lot. Although this is a short fall hike to enjoy, please know there is a steep incline. Once you reach this 80 foot tall waterfall, you get an incredible up-close and personal view from the footbridge.
A couple other great waterfalls are located very close to Juney Whank that we would suggest checking out as well. Also located in the Deep Creek area, those waterfalls are Tom Branch Falls and Indian Creek Falls.
Baskins Creek Trail
This trail is located off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which is right outside of Gatlinburg. You can reach the motor nature trail by taking traffic light #8 on the Gatlinburg Parkway. This is one of the best short fall hikes to do when in the National Park in my opinion. Not only do you see multiple old home sites, roadside waterfalls and lush forest as you drive the Roaring Fork Motor Natural Trail, you can really embrace the serenity of the Park on this easy and short hike. It is the perfect choice if you plan on spending half of your day in downtown Gatlinburg, but still want to get in some mountain time. This hike is around 3 miles round trip and only has a few inclines along the way. Hikers will be able to see great views of the mountains and visit the Baskins Cemetery before you reach the Baskins Creek Waterfall. This waterfall is 40 feet tall and has two tiers. It makes a great place to relax and have a good snack before heading back to your vehicle.
This is easily one of the most popular hikes in the Park. The roundtrip length is 2.6 miles and the trail is paved which is why it is so popular. You certainly will not have this trail to yourself, but once you reach the beautiful waterfall, you won’t mind! Laurel Falls is an 80 foot tall, two-tiered waterfall. If you want some great photos for a scrapbook or simply to reminisce on down the road, this is an awesome place to take some.
Andrews Bald Trail
Andrews Bald is a very enjoyable hike that takes you through spruce fir forests and grassy meadows. This trail is accessed from the Clingman’s Dome parking area and is roughly 3.5 miles round trip. There are a couple spots where you will really have to use your legs as there is some mild elevation, but nothing to where the whole family shouldn’t be able to enjoy this trail. It is, by far, one of the best trails to see incredible fall colors in the Smoky Mountains.
Sutton Ridge Overlook
This trail is really a hidden gem that not many people know about. Sutton Ridge Overlook is wonderful for entire families and you will pass some creeks and enjoy great views along the way. Once you near the Overlook, you will see a sign that says it is 200 yards away. Those 200 yards will be steeper than anything you have hiked so far on the trail, but keep at it – the view is 100% worth it! This trailhead is located in the Cosby Campground area of the Park and is almost 3 miles round trip.
Whether you have the time to spend hours a day in the National Park while visiting or have little time to hike, these short fall hikes are ideal for most visitors. You will feel fully relaxed, even though a little tired, after you enjoy these great Smoky Mountain hikes. If you haven’t yet planned your fall vacation, we would love to help you find the perfect vacation rental here in Pigeon Forge. We also have a great fall special going on!