Why the Laurel Falls Trail is One of the Best Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
The Laurel Falls trail is one of the most popular destinations in the Smokies, and for good reason! This beautiful hike gives visitors a chance to experience the beauty of the mountains and a waterfall all while hiking a paved and easy trail. This hike is great for families or groups of friends who want to get out and hike together. Here is why the Laurel Falls trail is one of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Laurel Falls Has a Great Location
Located near the hustle and bustle of Gatlinburg, the Laurel Falls trail has super easy accessibility and a great location if you want to stay close to town. Since this trail is so close to everything, we recommend arriving to hike in the early morning or late evening or during the off-season to avoid bigger crowds and parking issues. After your hike, you can come into town for a delicious breakfast at the Pancake Pantry or have dinner on the rooftop patio of Loco Burro. You can’t beat the trail’s location and proximity to Gatlinburg.
2. The Trail is Paved
If you were worried about battling a rocky terrain throughout the whole hike, don’t be! The Laurel Falls trail is considered one of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains partially because it is one of the only trails in the national park that is paved. You’ll be able to bring everyone in the family to enjoy this hike with its smooth path! The trail was originally built in 1932 as a way for fire crews to get to Cove Mountain in case a fire broke out. It was paved in 1963 after becoming a popular hiking trail in an attempt to stop the problems of erosion.
3. You Get to See a Beautiful Waterfall
One of the best parts about this unique trail is that you get to see the gorgeous Laurel Falls at the end. This 80-foot waterfall is one of the best places to get pictures in the Smokies and is divided into an upper and lower section. The divide comes from the walkway across Laurel Branch, the stream at the base of the falls. The name Laurel Falls derives from the delicate Mountain Laurel flower that grows along the trail in May.
4. Laurel Falls is Considered an Easy Trail
You don’t have to be an expert hiker to attempt the Laurel Falls trail! The hike is only 2.6 miles roundtrip and includes a 314-foot elevation gain. It generally takes people around 2 hours to hike to Laurel Falls and back. If you’re feeling up for a little more of a challenge, you can hike past the falls for another 2.7 miles to visit the old fire tower at the top of Cove Mountain. Visitors typically enjoy the serenity and a less crowded trail on their way to the fire tower.
With all of these awesome features, it’s no wonder the Laurel Falls trail is one of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains! If you want to stay near this trail and other fun things to do in Gatlinburg, check out our Gatlinburg large cabins and start planning your trip today! We look forward to seeing you!