Unlike the majority of the articles on the top hiking trails in the Smokies, we've taken a different path. We've opted to choose nature trails that are less crowded and offer you a chance to experience nature in its purest form. Don't follow the crowd this time, instead head off on one of these 5 great hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains for a quiet, secluded hike that won't be swamped with crowds.
Little Brier Gap Trail | Easy 2.6 Miles
History buffs will love Little Brier Gap Trail. Along this easy hike you'll see some pretty interesting things. This area was known as Little Greenbrier back in the 1800s and the schoolhouse that was eventually built in 1935 still stands along this trail. As you meander down the trail you'll hear the soothing sound of trickling water in the Little Briar Branch stream. After crossing a lovely foot bridge you’ll find yourself near an old cabin that was built as part of a large home that housed the family of John Walker, a Union Army vet, and his 11 children. This cabin, once located on a farm, is one of the few buildings that remain of their homestead. This area was made somewhat famous by 5 of the 11 children, all girls, who became known as the Walker sisters. They inherited the farm after their father passed away and instead of moving to modern ways, they wanted to keep their farm traditional. The National Park system wanted to purchase the farm, but for a long time they refused. They were finally persuaded in 1940 to sell the land, however they were allowed to live there the rest of their lives. After the last sister's passing in 1964, the cabin, as well as other structures still standing, were restored and deemed historic places.
Alum Cave Trail | Moderate 4.4 Miles
Rivers, amazing rock formations, and beautiful wildflowers can all be found along the Alum Cave Trail. As you hike along you’ll find steps etched into the stone that will take you up and under an arch made of rock that has eroded. Just after this area you’ll find picturesque views of Anakeesta Ridge, Little Duck Hawk Ridge, and Myrtle Point. Finally you’ll find Alum Cave. It’s not a traditional cave but more like a concave bluff. You can stop here and rest while looking out at the amazing views. This trail does continue on up the mountain, however it gets much more difficult from here.
Deep Creek Loop | Moderate 4.6 Miles
If wildflowers and waterfalls are your idea of the perfect hike, Deep Creek Loop is a must. This was one of the first trails constructed in the 1930s and is still an amazing trek. Not too far up the trail is Toms Branch Falls, which is an 80-foot waterfall that flows into the creek. Along your walk from here you’ll see plenty of wildflowers such as crested dwarf iris, trilliums, bloodroot, and much more. Next up you’ll come to the Indian Creek Trail junction, which is what helps to form the loop. After a little while on this trail you’ll find access to Indian Creek Falls, a 45-foot waterfall that is breathtaking. Continuing on you’ll cross a foot bridge where just to the right is a ton of beautiful rhododendron. Next up you’ll come to Stone Pile Gap Trail. Make sure you don’t turn here or you’ll be off the loop. Once at Deep Creek Loop Trail junction you’ll head left toward Sunkota Ridge Trail junction, bringing you into a quiet valley area. Soon you’ll come upon the flame azaleas that people come from all over to see, except not on this trail since it's not well traveled! Make sure you have your camera to get some pics of these gorgeous flowers! After this you’ll head back toward Deep Creek Trail to turn back toward where you started. You’ll find the footbridge, which leads back to the parking lot. Before you reach the parking lot you’ll find a small trail that heads off to Juney Whank Falls, which towers 80 feet in the air. As you can probably imagine, this trail loop is perfect for a romantic hike with a loved one.
Albright Grove Loop Trail | Moderate 6.7 Miles
When you just want to get away from it all, Albright Grove Loop Trail is one place that will offer up great seclusion. It starts off on Maddron Bald Trail and the first few miles that wind through a beautiful forest area are pretty easy. Soon you’ll come to Baxter’s Cabin, which is a one-room cabin that was built in 1889 from one chestnut tree (a very large one!). When you come to a clearing you’ll find yourself at the intersection of Maddron Bald, The Old Settlers, and the Gabes Mountain trails. Continue on Maddron Bald where you’ll find a few stone walls that are left from homes that used to be in the area. Shortly after, the trail goes from a wide gravel path to a narrow dirt path. This part of the trail will take you through an area of old growth forest, over Indian Camp Creek, and then starts going up in elevation toward the Albright Grove Trail junction where you want to head right. Soon you’ll come into the grove where you’ll find it to be the most diverse area in the park in regards to species of trees. Moving forward you’ll find a small trail that leads off just before the trail begins to descend. If you take this trail you’ll find the largest tree in the park, which is a 135-foot tall tuliptree that’s over 25 feet around. After you’ve gotten your picture next to this mammoth tree you can head back to the main trial, which will then take you back to Maddron Bald Trail to retrace your steps back to where you started. The other direction on this trail will take you up to Maddron Bald.
Middle Prong Trail | Strenuous 8.3 Miles
Waterfalls abound along Middle Prong Trail! When you first get started on this trail you’ll cross a metal footbridge, which will bring you to an area that used to be a community that had a post office, store, movie theaters, school, and more. This community was named Tremont and the last piece was finally sold to the logging companies in 1918. The trail itself actually follows an old railroad bed that was used to get the logs out of the forest. Along the trail you’ll find a variety of wildflowers, including but not limited to foamflower, wood sorrel, violets, and toothwort. The first waterfall you’ll come to is the Lower Lynn Camp Falls which is a 35-foot fall broken down into multiple tiers. A little while up the trail from this waterfall is a small cove that will take you to a rocky area. This then leads to a cataract that many people will overlook as you can’t see it from the main trail. As you press on from here you’ll come to Lynn Camp Falls, which is another breathtaking, multi-tiered waterfall. Continuing on the trail you’ll find an old chimney from a home that once stood there. There are quite a few things about this area that were left behind by the logging industry. Pressing on you’ll come to a couple small creeks and then a footbridge that crosses Indian Flats Prong. Near the footbridge you’ll find an unmarked trail that shoots off. This will take you to Indian Flats Falls, a 60-foot waterfall that’s separated into three tiers.
Which trail will you hike first? Let us know and share photos below! There are several campgrounds in the area where you can park your RV. If you don’t have an RV, don’t worry. You can find a huge selection of campers for sale at Lakeshore RV Center. Here we offer wholesale pricing that will save you thousands and worldwide delivery so you can take advantage of these deals no matter where you are. Check out our inventory here!