By Alex Boyer
From magnificent waterfalls and inviting swimming holes to stunning mountain peaks and views, Tennessee has it all! The Volunteer State is packed with many hiking trails that make it easy to unwind and disconnect from the real world and appreciate the simple beauty that is nature. Grab your hiking gear and get ready to be blown away by some of the most effortlessly awe-inspiring hiking trails in Tennessee.
While rated as moderate, the Porters Creek Trail is one of the most kid-friendly in the Smokies. The total distance is about 4.5 miles, and can take about three and a half hours to traverse. This hike is tremendously serene, affording views of glistening streams and lush forestation. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of some beautiful, blossoming wildflowers.
Stone Door Trail in South Cumberland State Park is an awesome place to check out. A portion of this trail is paved, making it easy to bring the whole family. Featuring the beautiful Laurel Falls in the same area, there is so much to see and explore at this southern Tennessee area. Get ready to be amazed as you stand on the edge of these massive cliffs!
Laurel Falls is one of the easier hikes of the stunning Great Smoky Mountains. The roundtrip length of this trail is 2.3 miles and it has a total elevation gain of only 314 feet. Laurel Falls has been a much-loved hiking destination since the 1960s. While the hike itself is easy and good for all ages, it’s suggested to keep a close eye on the little ones as there can be some significant drop-offs in certain areas. The 80-foot waterfall is truly a sight to behold once you arrive. Bring a camera, because you’ll want to snap a photo of this stunning natural wonder.
Fall Creek is Tennessee’s largest and most popular state park. Spread across 26,000 acres of natural beauty, you’ll discover everything from gorges and waterfalls, to glimmering streams while hiking here. While there are some more difficult overnight trails for the more experienced, there are also day hikes available for those with less experience. With over 34 miles of trails, children can not only comfortably get an up-close look at nature, but engage in educational activities as well.
At Long Hunter, you’ll find over 20 miles of hiking trails, ranging in difficulty and terrain. There is a self-guided paved arboretum trail for those with a baby in a stroller looking for something less physically-intensive. There’s also the famous 5.5-mile Volunteer Trail that moves along the lakeshore. Keep in mind that pets are not permitted at all of the trails in the park! Your family is going to love this one.