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

Gatlinburg sits nestled up to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You may think there aren’t any hikes you can do during the colder winter months, but Park Place Condos has four of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains that you can tackle during winter! These hikes are not ranked hard, but are still rewarding and fun!

1. Max Patch

Max Patch is an incredibly popular destination for hikers. Max Patch is a bald mountain top. It offers beautiful and inspiring panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains and of the North Carolina mountains. It is part of the Appalachian trail, and you will be able to notice that because there are often campers here or you can see where leftover fire coals are. Max Patch rises 4629 feet. All you have to do to get to the top is walk up the mountain which is less than a mile long.

Find out more about Max Patch here!

2. Laurel FallsSnowy view of laurel falls in the gsmnp

Laurel Falls is another very popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains year round Why? Because it’s short, paved, and offers one of the coolest waterfall views in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Laurel Falls is an 80 ft tall two story waterfall. The trail is only 2.6 miles round trip. It’s paved because in the 1930s fire crews used it to get the firetower on Cove Mountain. But because of this it makes it an easily accessible trail during the colder winter months.

You can learn more about this Laurel Falls trail and where it is here.

3. Schoolhouse Gap

The Schoolhouse Gap trail is near but also outside of Cades Cove. This trail often has high animal activity so you might see some during your hike! The trail passes through a calm meadow and later along a towering cliff and cave, known as Blowhole Cave. Make sure you proceed straight when reaching this point as other trails do connect here. 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.

Find out to get to and what more to expect on the Schoolhouse Gap trail here.

4. Porters Creek

Porters Creek Trail is one of the best hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains during winter! It is a relatively flat hike that is perfect for exploring the natural beauty of the Smokies. The trail will pass what use to be the Porters Creek community in the 1900s. You will also come up to 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.

Discover more about the Porters Creek here.


  • Bundle up! Wear clothing that can be layered up, and also wear weather resistant clothing.
  • It is not advised to approach any wildlife in the park.
  • Pack plenty of water! Even when it’s cold outside your body needs to stay hydrated.
  • Look at a map before you start hiking any trails.

You’ve learned some of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains, after a day of exploring come back to relax at your Park Place Condo. You can cozy up in bed, by a warm fireplace, or cook yourself a nice meal in your fully equipped kitchen. Find the trail and condo for you today!