Summary: A great hike and enjoyed by all. It is one of the most popular hikes in the park thus given the paved trail that the original trail could not stand up to traffic and erosion. The easy stroll of 1.3 miles gains just 300' to the falls, which is the destination of most users of this trail. Once you rest and snap a few photos continue past the falls on Laurel Falls Trail. The trail is a steady climb over the next 2 miles into Virgin forest until you intersect with Little Greenbriar Trail. The last section is just under a mile to reach Cove Mtn and is almost level ridge top hiking. You will intersect with Cove Mtn Trail which leads to the visitor's center at Sugarland.1/10 of a mile stretch takes you to the end of the trail and the old fire tower now turned into a environmental research tower. The tower is off limits to hikers and cannot be utilized for views of the valley below. A nice grassy area provides a great lunch spot before you return via the same route.
Trailhead: Preferred route: I-40 (Knoxville) to 140 East to 129 South follow signs to 411N/321N then continue on 321N to 73 East and you will enter the GSMNP. 7 miles to the Cades Cove Loop.
I-40 East (Sevierville) exit #407 Hwy 66 to 441 South through Gatlinburg into the GSMNP entrance then West (Sugarlands Visitor Center) on Little River Road to Fighting Creek Gap. The parking area is shared with the Sugarland Mountain Trail.
***Popular tourist hike and not suggested on the weekends***
Trail Guides for Laurel Falls Trail:
Day Hikes in GSMNP
by Johnny Molloy ()
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: GSMNP 865-436-1200
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Bobby Trotter, who has posted 74 other hikes on this site
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Reviewed by Jen on 5/15/2009
We hiked the full length of Laurel Falls trail on May 4, 2009. The falls were in high volume due to recent rains, which were very welcome and helpful in controlling a recent wildfire near the falls. As usual the paved trail up to the falls was busy, but very few hikers venture onto the dirt path beyond. Very nice spring flower display between the falls and Little Greenbrier Trail junction. It rained on us at the tower but the prepared hiker always brings ponchos. Hike summary with photos: http://jenoutpost.blogspot.com/2009/05/laurel-falls-wildfire-hike.html Saw a large bear last time we hiked here, in September.
Reviewed by GabbyK on 11/11/2008
This was a good stroll on the man-made trail to the falls. Some sheer drops along the trail edge but views in the fall were amazing, lots of color, especially on a clear day. Saw some bear tracks and a wood squirrel.
Reviewed by KB on 6/25/2008
This one is okay, more of a trail for non-serious hikers. It is too easy and crowded for me. But, I guess it is good for anyone who needs to push a stroller or wheel-char.
Reviewed by Britt on 5/4/2008
I really enjoyed this hike. It was very beautiful. I'm not usually one for paved trails and what not, but I'm 5 months pregnant and paved is the way to go right now. It wore me out, but I think it was worth it. I love nature, and I love waterfalls and it was beautiful. It's only worth going up once, but it's still very nice. I wouldn't suggest it during peak tourist seasons, there's not much room up there, too many people makes it scarey. And I wouldn't suggest it with small children, you'll most likely end up carrying them. Be careful when you get it up there, it's slick....
Reviewed by Barb on 4/25/2008
Hiked only to Falls (2.5 miles RT from parking area). What a weird scene: all paved with asphalt. Every tourist in the Great Smoky National Park must try to make this trek. Saw a lot of people who looked like they were going to go into cardiac arrest, people wearing sandals, etc. When you get to the falls, they are pretty disappointing. They have signs warning people to beware of the deadly drop off, but most everyone was ignoring them and acting foolish. I wanted out of there ASAP. Why would anyone do this with all the amazing hikes in the Smokies??
Reviewed by Tim on 11/13/2007
This was a very enjoyable hike. We did it with my family of 5. Three kids 14,12, and 10. Very beautiful views.....lots of rock formations to climb and have photo ops. The Falls were very beautiful. Worth the time and effort. The drive out was great also. We saw a doe and two fawns and a coyote! Even tho paved....it was not commercial and needed to be paved to protect erosion. We would do again.
Reviewed by BEE on 6/15/2007
I am not rating.... I wanted to no more on the bears and is it a trail to walk or drive. If walk then why should we becareful of cars if it is an walking hike. Are the bears freeroaming or what. I was considering this but i would lik 2 hav more information,, Please and thank you very much......
Reviewed by Falcon on 5/31/2006
Beautiful hike and a beautiful cascading waterfall! But the distance to the falls from the trailhead is posted incorrectly here. It's actually only about 1.3 miles and took us maybe a half hour to hike... but we did jog some! Be careful on those mountain roads! They are narrow, winding and rather busy during the warm months! The one thing I don't care for working in these hills is seeing accidents by tourists driving distracted. Its beautiful out here but please make sure your driver is disciplined enough to keep his eyes on the road!
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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