The Smoky Mountain region offers some of the most stunning scenery in the country. It’s hard to beat those majestic peaks topped by natural mist and the lush foliage of summertime makes this season one of the most popular times to visit. As an added bonus, summertime is one of the best times to catch a glimpse of the wildflower phenomena of the Smokies.
If you’re headed on a Gatlinburg vacation, a hike (or two) in Smoky Mountain National Park should land at the top of your list. Most hikes in the park are located close to the many Smoky Mountain cabins making them easily accessible and convenient. Here are a few summertime hikes to get you inspired!
A Glimpse of Smoky Mountain History Does the Trick!
If you’re not a huge outdoorsman, but don’t want to miss out on the wildflowers Metcalf Bottoms is a short, low-key trail. Close to many of the Smoky Mountain cabins, this hike is the perfect afternoon trip. With almost no elevation it serves as the perfect hike for children or those who don’t vye for the more physically demanding treks. The Little Greenbrier River runs along this shaded trail creating a peaceful reprieve. You’ll also notice the now deserted Little Greenbrier Community which boasts an almost 140-year old log school building. Additional history can be found along the Little Brier Gap Trail which takes you to the Walker Sisters’ Cabin. These two hikes are relatively easy and offer a glimpse into settler life in the Smokies.
Wildflowers Galore Rounds Out Your Gatlinburg Vacation
Wildflowers are in peak season during the summer and you won’t want to miss a chance to capture a photo for your Instagram! Schoolhouse Gap Trail clocks in at 3.8 miles and offers some of the best wildflower views. Along the way you might spot Virginia bluebells, beaked violets, or lady’s slipper, while rhododendron and mountain laurel will make an appearance deeper into the hike.
For more experienced hikers that want a challenge, the Rich Mountain Loop is difficult, but worth the trek. This 8.5-mile loop has a steep elevation gain, but plenty of wildflowers and mountain views. Violets, butterfly weed, and phacelia lead the way with mountain laurel and flame azalea following close behind. These wildflower varieties offer a real treat for those braving the trail. Near the end of the hike, you’ll be rewarded with views of the Crooked Arms Falls as well.
Start Planning Today!
Whichever trail you choose, the homebase for your Gatlinburg vacation should start and end at one of our Smoky Mountain cabins managed by Alpine Mountain Chalets. At the end of a long day of hiking you can enjoy a dip in the hot tub or a s’more by the fire. Our chalets offer everything you need for a comfortable, cozy stay. Call today!