Laurel Falls

Hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With its close proximity to Gatlinburg and Elkmont Campground, this easy 2.6-mile round-trip waterfall hike has become so wildly popular that the National Park Service has paved the entire length of the trail to head off the erosion caused by countless pairs of clomping boots. The paved passage is wheelchair accessible (with considerable assistance).

The trail to Laurel Falls climbs gently through a forest of oak and pine. At the top, Laurel Branch bursts from a grove of mountain laurel and falls nearly 50ft to collect in a pool that is ideal for soaking your weary gams. From here the water spills another 40ft to a second pool below. Plan on spending about 1½ hours on this hike.