4 of the Best Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains During Winter

You may think there aren’t any hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains you can do during the winter months when it’s cold, but you actually have quite a few options! Seeing the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the winter is a treat, especially when there’s snow on the ground. Look at these 4 of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains you can tackle during winter:

1. Spruce Flats Falls

hiking trail in the smoky mountains with snowIf you’re looking for a relatively simple hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains with a great view, you should try Spruce Flats Falls. While this waterfall isn’t on the national park map, it’s definitely one you should see! The trail is fairly easy, with old forest growth, foot bridges, and you get to walk next to creeks. Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll see water gushing over the rocks at 30 feet tall over four tiers. The last little part of the trail leading up to the waterfall is rugged, so be careful!

2. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is another very popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains year round because it’s short, paved, and has one of the coolest waterfall views national park. This out-and-back trail is 2.6 miles roundtrip. The path is paved because in the 1930s fire crews used it to get the fire tower on Cove Mountain, and this feature is what makes it fairly easy to hike in the winter. Once you reach the top, you’ll see the huge waterfall. Laurel Falls stands at 80 feet tall and has two tiers with a footbridge separating the tiers so you can walk along both sides of the waterfall.

3. Schoolhouse Gap

schoolhouse gap sign in the smoky mountainsSchoolhouse Gap trail is near Cades Cove. This trail often has high animal activity so you might see some during your hike! The trail passes through a meadow and later along a towering cliff and Blowhole Cave. Make sure you proceed straight when reaching this point because other trails do connect at this section. The hike will end on Schoolhouse Gap Road. Schoolhouse Gap is only gains 513 feet in elevation, so it’s a pretty consistent flat hike and is 3.8 miles round trip.

4. Porters Creek

Porters Creek trail is one of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains during winter since it is relatively flat hike. The trail will pass what use to be the Porters Creek community in the 1900s. You will also see John Messer’s farm site where a cantilevered barn was built in 1875, This trail is calm, relaxing, great for a stroll, and has very cool structures to explore. Porters Creek is 4 miles round trip.

Tips for Going On Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains

hiking equipment laid out

We want you to be as prepared as possible when you go out on hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains in the winter. Check out these tips:

  • Bundle up! Wear clothing that can be layered and is weather resistant.
  • It is not advised to approach any wildlife in the park.
  • Pack plenty of water. You can actually get dehydrated faster in the winter.
  • Look at a map before you start hiking any trails.

Now you know about some of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains! Ready to start planning your trip to the Smoky Mountains? Browse through our available condos and book one today!