The Great Smoky Mountains offers dozens of easily accessible and beautiful hiking and camping opportunities, and while Cades Cove Loop may be closed, outdoor adventure seekers need not cancel their plans. Instead, try one of these other great outdoor destinations!
- House Mountain
Just a short drive from Knoxville, House Mountain Natural Area offers hiking, mountain biking and camping opportunities to suit a variety of skill levels.
- Roaring Fork
This area inside Great Smoky Mountain National Park marks the entrance to multiple trails.Named after the rainbow produced by mist around its base, rainbow falls offers a spectacular view as the reward for a moderately difficult hike. Nearby Grotto Falls is a short 2-3 hour hike that features a 25-foot waterfall.
- Max Patch
A portion of the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina leads to Max Patch, a 4,600-foot bald mountain top with views of the Smokies. Campers get a front-row seat for incredible views of the stars.
- Metcalf Bottoms
Metcalf Bottoms located along the Little River Gorge is a very easy hike that offers plenty of sites and a picnic area. The Little Greenbriar school located there was built in 1882 and is open for tours.
- Ijams Nature Center
Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness offers a place to get away without leaving the city. With dozens of mountain biking trails, places for picnics, hiking and water activities this area has something for everyone.
- Laurel Falls
A paved 1.3 mile trail leads to an 80-foot waterfall which is named after the Laurel flowers that bloom along the trail. Hikers can access the moderately difficult trailhead from the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Gatlinburg.
- Ramsay Cascades
The tallest waterfall inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is nestled at the end of a difficult four-mile hike. The last two miles of the trail pass through old-growth cove hardwood forest with large tuliptrees, basswoods, silverbells and more!
- Alum Cave Bluffs
A trail that crosses over wooden bridges and through a natural stone tunnel called Arch Rock leads hikers to Alum Cave Bluff. The 2.3-mile hike is steep and might be tough for some. Serious adventurers can continue on passed the cave for a total five miles to reach a perch just below the summit of Mr. Leconte