Nestled in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains lies the breathtaking Laurel Falls trail. This scenic hike offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and forrests, and a chance to immerse oneself in the natural beauty of this iconic destination.

Laurel Fall sign

Trails in the Great Smoky Mountains tend to be difficult, requiring stamina and the physical ability to step over rocky, uneven terrain. They also tend to be several miles long to completion. A great thing about Laurel Falls is that it is a moderate two-and-a-half-mile round trip, making it accessible to hikers of all skill levels. The path is paved all the way to the end, and at least portions of it are accessible to strollers, wheelchairs, and anyone who may have difficulty navigating a traditional hiking trail.

Laurel Falls trail

One of the standout features of the Laurel Falls trail is, of course, the waterfall itself. The falls cascade down a 50-foot drop, creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere that is perfect for relaxation and contemplation. Visitors can take in the view from the overlook at the top of the falls or venture down the stairs to the base of the falls for a closer look.

Laurel Falls

In addition to the falls, the trail offers stunning views of the surrounding forest and mountains. The trail winds through a dense forest of hemlocks, rhododendrons, and other native plants, providing a beautiful backdrop for hikers to enjoy. The path also crosses over streams and small creeks, adding to the peaceful and serene atmosphere of the hike.

Laurel Falls

The trail is located just outside of Gatlinburg, TN, making it a convenient destination for visitors staying in the area. Leaving Gatlinburg, just head toward Cades Cove. You will come up on a sign for the trail and parking spaces. Don’t forget your parking pass! On busy days, parking can be hard to find, so you may have to park further down the road and walk back to the start of the trail.

Laurel Falls rock formations

For those looking for a bit more of a challenge, the trail does offer some steep inclines and rocky terrain in the second half of the hike. If you put in the effort, what you will see is well worth it.

Laurel Falls sign

Visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains should plan to spend at least a few hours exploring the Laurel Falls trail. The hike can be completed in as little as 1-2 hours, making it a great activity for anyone looking to spend a morning or afternoon in the park. However, visitors may also want to consider packing a picnic lunch and spending some time relaxing at the base of the falls, taking in the natural beauty of the area. The trail can be quite crowded during peak season, so visitors should plan to arrive early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds.

Laurel Falls view

Overall, the Laurel Falls trail is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting the Great Smoky Mountains. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking for a peaceful escape into nature, the Laurel Falls trail is a destination you won’t want to miss. One of our top recommendations for those looking to do a more casual hike, but also take in stunning views.