FREE hikes in the Smokies and tours of Gatlinburg are just a part of the town’s efforts to get visitors and locals alike out and about, and enjoying Spring in the Smokies.
Take a Guided Hike
Locate some of the most beautiful spring wildflowers or take an afternoon and do some bird watching. These are just a few of the things you can do on a hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. For the first 3 weeks of April, Gatlinburg is offering people the chance to go out with their very own hiking guide on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Jennie Burke will lead a “Walk with a Naturalist” on Thursdays at 2 pm at the Cove Hardwood Nature Trail in the Chimneys Picnic area. Former Park Ranger, Ray Sellers will lead 2 walks: Old Sugarlands Trail and Trillium Gap Trail at 2 pm on the first and third Tuesdays (April 2 & 16). Former National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, Keith Watson will lead a bird walk at 9 am on the second Tuesday (April 9) on Rainbow Falls Trail. These hikes are FREE to anyone who wants to get out into nature, but guests are asked to sign-up ahead by calling Jennie (865) 436-0505. Space is limited! For a list of the hikes, click here.
Go on a Guided Tour of Gatlinburg
Go in depth about Gatlinburg’s past and present during the guided downtown Gatlinburg tours on Fridays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. for the first 3 weeks of April. Tours are FREE to the public, but guests are asked to sign-up ahead by calling Jennie (865) 436-0505. Space is limited!
Sign up for one of these hikes or tours here or call (865) 436-0505.
If you’re one of those hikers who loves a good challenge, then look no further than the Hannah Mountain Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail is a meandering 9.5 miles from Parson Branch Road to its junction with the Hatcher Mountain Trail at Abrams Creek.
You’ll trek across a number of Smoky Mountain ridges along the way after starting out on Parson Branch Road. To get there, turn off the Cades Cove Loop Road in Townsend just past the Cable Mill. Then follow the signs to Parson Branch Road.
Over the years, this trail has become known for its great hiking opportunities. And by that, meaning it’s a very even trail and smooth thanks to pine needles that fall along it. You’ll come to a massive tuliptree 1.9 miles on the trail – the first major natural marker. Accordingly, another natural marker found on Hannah Mountain is Mount Lanier, the mountain’s highest peak. You’ll descend its flank above Bell Cove and hike into a mixed hardwood forest.
Hikers will circle the north end of Hannah Mountain as they move further along the trail before coming to backcountry campsite No. 14. From there, hikers will follow the trail around the north end of Deadrick Ridge. You’ll climb Polecat Ridge after passing an old home site. This occurs before descending Scott Gap 7.6 miles in. Scott Gap is named in honor of George Scott who lived in the area that backcountry campsite No. 16 now occupies.
The Hannah Mountain Trail reaches its steepest point during the final 100 yards as it approaches Abrams Creek. You must wade the creek in order to cross it which can be hazardous after a rainstorm. Happy hiking!