Gatlinburg Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This walk between Sugarlands Visitor Center and Gatlinburg is not for people looking for a wilderness experience in the Smokies. As a shuttle or out-and-back hike, there are better short hikes than this. However, it’s a great split-party hike, especially if you’re staying in Gatlinburg. Have your party drop you off at the visitor center and meet them back in town, or head out early in the morning and meet your party at the visitor center. The trail is popular among locals as a fitness and dog-walking path. It’s one of only two trails in the park that allow dogs (on leash) and one of only four that allow bicycles. (Oconaluftee River Trail allows dogs and bikes; Deep Creek Trail and Indian Creek Trail allow bikes on their lower sections.) A highlight of the hike is the short side trip to Cataract Falls."
--Kevin Adams, Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Falcon Guides).
If you are staying in Gatlinburg and looking for a short walk after supper this works great.
What a great trail just a block away from all the action of downtown Gatlinburg. We started on the trail opposite of the visitors center and parked in the $5.00 lot. However, they do have parallel parking closer to the trail, but didn't discover that until after. Since the fire, a lot of the wooded area has been charred, but still remains beautiful against the rushing creek waters. Hikers will experience the only small climb right after the bridge going over the river.
Before coming to the welcome center, hikers will experience a paved hike where the trail runs out. After visiting the welcome center make sure you stop by Cataract Falls. This is something we failed to do on this leg of the trip.
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