Calling all hiking enthusiasts – if you’re itching for some incredible outdoor adventures this year, we’ve got you covered! We’ve handpicked some of the best hikes in Tennessee, where you’ll find everything from beautiful waterfalls to breathtaking vistas and routes that will challenge even the most seasoned hikers. From the jaw-dropping peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains to the hidden trails in lush state parks, get pumped and make 2023 the year you explore Tennessee’s most epic hiking trails. If you’re ready, grab your hiking boots, and let’s go hiking in Tennessee!
Best Hikes in Tennessee
Alright, folks, let’s talk about the best hiking trails in Tennessee that you absolutely can’t miss. First up is the Alum Cave Trail leading to Mount LeConte. The views and unique geological features make it a must-visit for adventurous hikers. Next on the list is the family-friendly Laurel Falls Trail, where you’ll be treated to a spectacular 80-foot waterfall. And if you’re up for a challenge, check out Peregrine Peak via Alum Cave Bluff Trail. The views from up there are one for the books. So, whether you’re after stunning scenery, a family adventure, or a thrilling hike, these trails have what you need for a fun day of hiking.
Alum Cave Trail, Tennessee 37738, USA
Location: Gatlinburg Mileage: 11.0-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: Heads up, this trail is crazy popular. There are two parking lots with restrooms, but it gets so busy that hikers end up parking on the side of 441. There are no water facilities at LeConte Lodge in winter. Make LeConte Lodge reservations well in advance. Sorry, no dogs are allowed on this trail.
Take on this
near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and conquer Mount LeConte. Enjoy beautiful views, well-maintained paths, and even a cave along the way. Don't forget to snap photos at landmarks like Arch Rock and Inspiration Point, where you'll experience impressive sights.
Marvel at Alum Cave Bluff's unique orange clay and make your way to the summit, where you'll find the LeConte Lodge with its cozy cabins and lodges. Keep trekking on the Bull Head Trail, and finish strong on the Boulevard Trail to reach the summit. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure!
Laurel Falls Trail, Tennessee 37862, USA
Location: Gatlinburg Mileage: 2.4-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Prepare for a bustling hike, as this area is popular. Just a heads up, dogs are not permitted on the trail. While there's no entrance fee, remember to obtain a paid parking tag if you plan to park for more than 15 minutes. This trail is also kid-friendly, making it a great option for family outings.
Gear up for an adventure on this
enjoyable and accessible trail
near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Nestled within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this trail attracts many visitors, so be prepared for limited parking at the trailhead. The route is nice and paved, and it'll lead you straight to the spectacular Laurel Falls, which is a whopping 80 feet high.
The falls get their name from the vibrant mountain laurel shrubs that bloom in May; this natural wonder is a sight to behold! Just a heads up, though, the rocks around the falls can get slippery, so be careful and stick to the trail. Stay safe and make lasting memories as you explore this picturesque trail in the heart of the Smoky Mountains.
Peregrine Peak, Tennessee 37738, USA
Location: Gatlinburg Mileage: 4.5-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This area is popular for hiking, so expect to encounter other people on the trail. It is open year-round and suitable for visits at any time. Dogs aren't allowed on this trail, so please leave your pets at home. Keep in mind that a paid parking tag is required for parking longer than 15 minutes, and you can purchase them online or at the visitor's center. Additionally, this trail is kid-friendly, making it a great choice for family outings.
Check out this
fantastic 4.5-mile trail
near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It's a bit of a challenge but totally doable, taking around two hours and 31 minutes to complete.
You'll love strolling alongside the river for most of the hike, with plenty of opportunities to capture photos and take in the scenery. From cascades to mini waterfalls, this trail has it all. Just a heads up, there are quite a few stairs the last quarter mile, but it's all worth it when you reach the cave. Get your camera ready and have a blast on this trail.
Best Short & Easy Hikes in Tennessee
When it comes to short and easy hikes in Tennessee, there are a few standout trails. First up is Cataract Falls, a hidden gem that rewards you with the soothing sounds of a cascading waterfall. Next on the list is Radnor Lake Trail, where you can stroll around a lake surrounded by lush greenery and abundant wildlife. And if you find yourself in the Gatlinburg area, don’t miss the Gatlinburg Trail, a scenic pathway that takes you through leafy forests and offers glimpses of historic buildings. Whether you’re a beginner hiker or just looking for a relaxing walk in nature, these three hikes in Tennessee are perfect choices to enjoy the outdoors without breaking a sweat.
Cataract Falls, Cove Mountain Trail, Gatlinburg, TN 37738, USA
Location: Gatlinburg Mileage: 1.1-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: If you're planning on hitting this kid-friendly trail, be prepared for a lively scene because it's super popular for hiking and walking. The prime times to visit are from May to November, so mark your calendars accordingly. Dogs are a no-go on this trail, so leave your furry buddies at home. Good news though there's no entrance fee to worry about. But if you're parking for more than 15 minutes, you have to get a paid parking tag.
Explore the charming Cataract Falls, a
short hike around a mile
near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This easy route can be completed in around 20 minutes, making it perfect for all skill levels. While the trail primarily caters to young hikers, who will LOVE the falls, adults can also enjoy a leisurely walk through the forested woods. You'll have to watch out for some tree roots along the way, but overall, it's a straightforward path. A true family-friendly activity that everyone will enjoy.
Radnor Lake State Park, 1160 Otter Creek Rd, Nashville, TN 37220, USA
Location: Brentwood Mileage: 2.7-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail is a well-known destination for birding, hiking, and walking - it is common to come across other individuals during your hike. The trail remains accessible year-round, but no dogs are allowed. It's a fantastic option for families as it is kid, wheelchair, and stroller-friendly.
delightful loop trail
is a pleasant and easy hike that takes around an hour to complete. It's an excellent choice for all outdoor lovers, with a paved path and a friendly atmosphere shared by fellow walkers. This park is a haven for wildlife, with birds, squirrels, deer, chipmunks, and woodpeckers. You'll be able to enjoy the shade and explore the various other trails taking in the scenery, diverse wildlife, and relaxed vibe that attracts a vibrant community of outdoor enthusiasts.
Gatlinburg Trail, Gatlinburg, TN, USA
Location: Gatlinburg Mileage: 3.9-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail is a popular spot for hiking, mountain biking, and running, so expect to encounter other people along the way. It's open year-round, and leashed dogs are welcome. Remember, there's no entrance fee, but a paid parking tag is required for longer stays. Plus, it's wheelchair-friendly, kid-friendly, and stroller-friendly, making it a family-friendly choice.
is known for its easy terrain and typically takes around an hour or so to complete. The path begins at the Visitor Center and leads to the City of Gatlinburg, with most of the route being wide and covered in mulch alongside a scenic creek. While there may be some road noise due to its proximity to downtown Gatlinburg and the road, the hike is still pleasant, offering beautiful river views and minimal hills. Also, keep an eye out for wildlife along the way!
Hardest Hikes in Tennessee
Get ready to test your limits with these challenging hikes in Tennessee. Starting this list is the Frozen Head Loop, a trail known for its steep ascents and rugged terrain that will push your endurance to the max. Following, we have Mount Cammerer via Groundhog Ridge Manway, a grueling hike that rewards you with breathtaking views from the historic fire tower at the summit. Lastly, the Appalachian Trail section from Davenport Gap to Max Patch offers a demanding trek through rugged mountains and picturesque landscapes. These hikes are not for the faint of heart, but if you’re up for the challenge, they promise unforgettable adventures and a sense of accomplishment.
Frozen Head State Park, 3208, 964 Flat Fork Rd, Wartburg, TN 37887, USA
Location: Wartburg Mileage: 19.1-mile loop trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: This trail is well-liked for backpacking, camping, and hiking, but you can also find some peaceful moments during quieter times of the day. It's open all year round, and dogs are allowed on the trail and can roam off-leash in certain areas.
19.1-mile loop trail
near Wartburg, Tennessee, is a renowned and highly challenging route that typically takes around 12 hours to complete. Located within Frozen Head State Park, famous for hosting the Barkley Marathons, this popular dog-friendly trail welcomes backpackers, campers, hikers, and runners.
Amidst the muddy and rocky terrain, embrace the elevation gain and find solace in the dense forest. Although the trail may not offer expansive views, the striking giant boulders atop the mountains are well worth it. Get ready for an epic journey full of sweat, smiles, and breathtaking ruggedness.
Mount Cammerer Lookout Tower, Cosby, TN 37722, USA
Location: Cosby Mileage: 14.8-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: This trail is perfect for backpacking, camping, and hiking, and you probably won't come across many other people while you're out there. It's open all year round and offers stunning views whenever you choose to visit. Just a heads up, dogs aren't allowed on this trail. Also, keep in mind that while there's no entrance fee, you'll need a paid parking tag if you plan on parking for more than 15 minutes.
Embark on an
exhilarating adventure along this 14.8-mile out-and-back trail
near Cosby, Tennessee. Considered quite challenging, it takes an average of 10 hours to complete. Ideal for backpacking, camping, and hiking, this trail lacks signage or blazes, requiring navigation skills such as a map, compass, or GPS. Along the Groundhog Ridge Manway, a steep section, you'll be treated to views as the trail winds along the ridge line, leading you directly to Mt. Cammerer. Prepare for an exciting challenge as you tackle the final half-mile, braving through dense forest and rock scrambles.
Upon reaching the summit of a small peak, you'll catch your first glimpse of the tower and the mountains surrounding it. Immerse yourself in nature and create lasting memories along this challenging yet rewarding trail near Cosby, Tennessee.
Davenport Gap, Tennessee 37722, USA
Location: Hartford Mileage: 14.0-mile point-to-point trail Difficulty: Hard FYI: Leashed dogs are allowed on this popular trail, perfect for backpacking, camping, and hiking. You can enjoy some peaceful moments during quieter times of the day. The trail is open year-round and offers beauty at any time. Make sure to pack an ample water supply since there are limited water sources along the trail.
Scope out this
awesome 14-mile adventure
near Hartford, Tennessee. This trail is known for being challenging, taking around eight hours to complete, and is a hot spot for backpacking, camping, and hiking.
Be prepared for some serious hills and changing temperatures throughout the day, so pack your layers. Most of the trail winds through the woods, but don't miss the opportunity to see the stunning sunset at the balds of Max Patch - it's pure magic! Pack up your hiking gear and get ready to conquer this trail with a worthwhile payoff.
Best Waterfront Hikes in Tennessee
Get psyched for some epic waterfront hikes in Tennessee. These trails offer stunning views and the chance to experience the water firsthand. From Rainbow Lake to Edwards Point, Day Loop Trail, and Busby and Machine Falls Loop, each hike promises a unique adventure along the waterfront. So, lace up your hiking boots and get set to immerse yourself in the nature of Tennessee’s waterfront trails.
Edward's Point Trailhead, 2722 Edwards Point Rd, Signal Mountain, TN 37377, USA
Location: Signal Mountain Mileage: 4.5-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: Expect a bustling atmosphere as this area is highly popular for hiking, running, and walking, so encountering fellow individuals is likely during your exploration. The trail remains accessible year-round, offering picturesque views regardless of the season. Keep in mind that dogs are allowed on the trail but must be kept on a leash for everyone's safety.
4.5-mile loop trail
near Signal Mountain is a moderately challenging route, with an average completion time of two hours, and is a beloved destination for hikers, runners, and walkers alike. The trail offers a mix of terrains, including some steep sections that'll get your heart pumping, but once you reach Edwards Point, enjoy the payoff with an incredible view of the Tennessee River and Chattanooga.
And if you're lucky enough to visit in mid-May, you'll catch the blooming spring flowers - what a treat! Just a heads up, the trail can be a bit tricky to follow, so keep your map or app handy, especially when heading to Edwards Point. There might be a few spots that aren't well-marked, but it's worth it for that epic view.
Day Loop Trail Orange, Nashville, TN 37076, USA
Location: Nashville Mileage: 3.9-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This area is a popular spot for hiking, running, and walking, so expect to see other people on the trail. It's open year-round and offers beautiful views. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. Parking is available in a paved lot, and the trail begins at a sign with maps of the Volunteer Loop and Bakers Grove Trail.
Ready to explore this
3.9-mile loop trail
near Nashville? This moderate route, with an average completion time of an hour and a half, is a popular destination for hiking, running, and walking. Located in Long Hunter State Park, this trail branches off from the Volunteer Trail and offers a great outdoor experience if you're in the Nashville area.
As you venture along the trail, you'll leave the loop and follow the shoreline of Percy Priest Lake, leading you to two campsites. It's the perfect opportunity to enjoy a picnic or plan an overnight camping trip. While not particularly difficult, be prepared for some boulder and rock fields along the way, making sturdy hiking or running shoes essential. As you make your way, soak in the beautiful views of the lake, providing a scenic backdrop for much of the trail.
Busby Falls, 1861 Short Springs Rd, Tullahoma, TN 37388, USA
Location: Tullahoma Mileage: 2.4-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This area is a popular spot for hiking, running, and walking, so expect to see other people on the trail. It's open year-round and offers beautiful views. Dogs are welcome but must be leashed. Parking is available in a paved lot, and the trail begins at a sign with maps of the Volunteer Loop and Bakers Grove Trail. And don't forget your bug spray, it's a must.
Take a hike along this
trail near Tullahoma, Tennessee. Known for its moderate level of challenge, most hikers complete it in an hour. This area is a bustling hub for birding, fishing, and hiking, drawing nature lovers from all around.
While the trail can get a little muddy and requires a few creek crossings, the thrill awaits as you tackle the steep and strenuous section leading to the magnificent Machine Falls, which are absolutely worth the effort! Navigating this trail is a breeze, thanks to the clearly marked signs and the cohesive network of intersecting trails. Follow the signs and let the route guide you through the enchanting lush landscape.
Best Winter Hikes in Tennessee
Enjoy the best winter hikes in Tennessee at Memphis Botanic Garden, Pellissippi State Community College Walking Trail, and Madisonville Lake. Welcome the winter charm as you explore these trails, whether you prefer a stroll or a more challenging adventure. Don’t miss out on the beauty of Tennessee’s winter landscapes on these top-rated hikes.
Memphis Botanic Garden, 750 Cherry Rd, Memphis, TN 38117, USA
Location: Memphis Mileage: 1.8-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This family-friendly and stroller-friendly trail welcomes all, but be aware that there is an entrance fee to enter the Memphis Botanic Garden. Moreover, most wheelchairs, mobility equipment, and strollers should be able to navigate this trail comfortably, with benches conveniently placed along the way for resting.
Stroll along this
family-friendly 1.8-mile loop trail
at the Memphis Botanic Garden. With its easy level of difficulty, most walkers can complete it in around 30 minutes. People enjoy this trail for birding and leisurely walks, and the route is a well-paved walking path meandering through the picturesque gardens.
For the best experience, visit during the vibrant spring and summer seasons when the flora is in full bloom, though winter has its charms too. Along the way, you'll be treated to a charming bridge, a serene koi pond, a welcoming pavilion, and a plethora of diverse plant species. So lace up your walking shoes, embrace the beauty of the surroundings, and enjoy a fun walk in and along the Memphis Botanic Garden.
14. Pellissippi State Community College Walking Trail
Pellissippi State Community College, 10915 Hardin Valley Rd, Knoxville, TN 37932, USA
Location: Knoxville Mileage: 1.1-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This trail has a scenic lake, paved path, is suitable for kids, and is dog-friendly, making it a family-friendly option.
Check out this
kid-friendly 1.1-mile loop trail
near Knoxville, it's super easy, and you can complete it in about 20 minutes. You'll love how the trail winds around the pond, providing scenic and serene views.
Most of the trail is not in the shade, so be prepared for sunshine and maybe bring some sunblock! Get ready for a fun and relaxing experience on this easy trail, where you can enjoy the beautiful pond views and even have a go at some frisbee golf.
15. Madisonville Lake
Madisonville Lake, Madisonville, TN 37354, USA
Location: Madisonville Mileage: 1.0-mile loop trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: Although this trail is well-known for birding, running, and walking, you can still find quiet moments during less busy periods. Just a heads up, dogs are not permitted on this trail, so it's best to leave them at home.
1.0-mile loop trail at a community park
in Madisonville a try! It's easy and will only take you about 25 minutes to complete. This nicely paved trail is a hit among birdwatchers, runners, and those who love leisurely walks.
As you make your way around, check out the beautiful pond and be on the lookout for the friendly ducks and geese that hang out there. Plus, there's even a play area for kids to enjoy. So, whether you're looking for a peaceful stroll with the family or a quick jog, this city trail is worth checking out.
Best Hikes Near Nashville
Explore the best hikes near Nashville with these top picks: Mossy Ridge Trail Loop, Harpeth Woods Trail, and Stones River Greenway of Nashville Trail. Each trail offers a one-of-a-kind experience, allowing you to engage in nature and enjoy the outdoors in the Nashville area.
Mossy Ridge Trail, Nashville, TN 37221, USA
Location: Nashville Mileage: 5.3-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This area is popular for birding, hiking, and horseback riding, so expect to encounter other people. The trail is open year-round and welcomes dogs on a leash. It's a kid-friendly trail with beautiful forest views, wildflowers, and diverse wildlife. Perfect for walking, running, and enjoying nature.
2.5-mile loop trail
is a moderately challenging route and typically takes around two hours and change to complete, attracting avid birdwatchers, hikers, and even horseback riders. One of the hidden gems along the trail is a small "waterfall" - a delightful surprise that adds to the trail's beauty. Following the well-marked trail is a breeze, too, with moderate inclines and ample shade from surrounding trees to keep you cool.
Harpeth Woods Trailhead, Nashville, TN 37221, USA
Location: Nashville Mileage: 2.5-mile loop trail Difficulty: Moderate FYI: This area is popular for hiking, running, and walking, so expect to encounter other people. The trail is open year-round and dogs are welcome on a leash. It's a kid-friendly trail with beautiful forest views.
scenic, dog-friendly 2.5-mile loop trail
near Nashville, Tennessee. With a moderate level of challenge, it usually takes around an hour to complete, attracting hikers, runners, and walkers alike. The trail offers a beautiful path with some uphill that winds through the forest. Along the way, be captivated by the abundance of wildflowers, creating a colorful and vibrant atmosphere when in season.
Stones River Greenway, Nashville, TN, USA
Location: Nashville Mileage: 5.7-mile out-and-back trail Difficulty: Easy FYI: This area is great for road biking, running, and walking. Expect to encounter others on the year-round trail with beautiful views. Dogs on leash are welcome, and it's family-friendly. Enjoy the mix of paved and unpaved sections through forests, by a lake and river, and take in the scenic views, wildflowers, and wildlife.
near Nashville is an easy route, perfect for road biking, running, or simply walking. You'll love the paved path along the river - it's gorgeous! The trail is well-maintained, with cool bridges and walkways to explore. Most of the route is in the shade, but there are also some sunny spots, and the views of the river are fantastic. Whether looking for a peaceful stroll or an energizing bike ride, this trail has it all.
Want more adventure? Check out this YouTube video by outdoor explorer Floral Shirt Richard highlighting some of the best hiking trails in Tennessee.
Have you had the chance to explore these best hiking trails in Tennessee? Do you consider them among the top hiking trails and best places to hike in our state? Share your experiences and let us know your recommendations. We’re excited to hear from you!
Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking extensive trails and challenging hikes or a beginner looking for a day hike in the scenic Tennessee mountains, check out our website which offers some of the
most incredible hikes in Tennessee. Don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunity to try for free, providing you with even more resources and features for your hiking adventures! AllTrails+
OnlyInYourState may earn compensation through affiliate links in this article. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
More to Explore
The Best Hikes In Tennessee
What are some more of the best hiking trails in Tennessee?
While the trails listed in the article are the best hiking trails in Tennessee, here are some more treks that we recommend:
Abrams Falls Trail, Blount County
Grundy Day and Fiery Gizzard Trail, Monteagle
Raven Rock Trail, Roan Mountain
Twin Creeks Trail, Gatlinburg
Clingmans Dome Tennessee High Point, Sevier County
Ridge Top Trail: Burgess Falls State Park, Sparta
Gorge Overlook and Woodland Trails, Spencer Virgin Falls State Natural Area, Sparta
Byrd Creek Trail and Cumberland Plateau Trail Loop
Rainbow Falls Trail, Sevier County
Don’t forget to read our previous article telling you more about some of these hiking trails in Tennessee .
What are some of the top state parks in Tennessee?
There are 57 state parks in Tennessee, and all are worthy of a visit. But here are 10 of the top state parks that belong on your bucket list:
Cummins Falls State Park, Cookeville,
Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville
, Sparta Burgess Falls State Park
Fall Creek Falls State Park, Spencer
Fort Loudon State Park, Vonore
Reelfoot Lake State Park, Tiptonville
Rock Island State Park , Rock Island
Pickett CCC Memorial State Park, Jamestown
Roan Mountain State Park, Roan Mountain
Pickwick Landing State Park, Counce
Want to know more? Be sure to check out our previous article with more information about these top state parks in Tennessee .
What are some natural wonders in Tennessee?
From mountain to lakes to forests, and more, here are some of the best natural wonders in Tennessee that are worthy of a visit:
Great Smoky Mountains, Gatlinburg
Ramsey Cascades, Gatlinburg
The Natural Bridge , Sewanee
The Lost Sea, Sweetwater
Tennessee River Gorge, Chattanooga
Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountain
Ruby Falls , Chattanooga
Cherohala Skyway, Tellico Plains
Lookout Mountain, Rock City
Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Oneida
Read our previous article with more information about these natural wonders in Tennessee .
What are the best months to hike in Tennessee?
Spring, from March through May, is an ideal season to explore Tennessee. Spring offers breathtaking landscapes adorned with blooming flowers, cascading waterfalls, and lush green hillsides. The weather during this time is pleasantly cool and less humid compared to the summer months, making it perfect for venturing out on low-elevation trails.