Family Activities:

Laurel Falls


Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls Trail, Little River Road,, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 37738, TN

This 2.6-mile roundtrip trail (off of Little River Road, about four miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center) is the only hiking trail in the park that’s paved (not counting a handful of nature trails). It’s fairly flat — the elevation gain is only 300 feet — making it ideal for families with small children. You can even push a stroller on it.

You can purchase a trail guide that talks about the various trees and other natural features you’ll pass along the way. It’s only a dollar, and if you don’t manage to buy one at one of the visitors centers, you can buy one on the honor system from a box near the trailhead.

The falls at the end are 85 feet high and quite pretty, although the rocks around them can be dangerous, so be sure to keep your kids on the path. It’s a nice walk in any season, but in spring, the mountain laurel, rhododendron, and dogwood make it especially pretty.

There are no restroom facilities at the trailhead — the closest option is at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The parking at the trailhead fills up fast in summer, so plan to start your hike earlier in the morning.