When you come zipline with us in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll be surrounded by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The national park is the perfect place to extend your outdoor adventure when you visit in the winter. With over 850 miles of hiking trails, you’ll have plenty of options to explore! To help you decide what you want to do while you’re here, we’ve come up with the 5 best winter hikes in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains during every season! It is 2.6 miles to hike to the 80-foot waterfall and back. During long periods of freezing temperatures, you’ll have the chance to see the waterfall in its frozen state. The waterfall has both an upper and a lower section that is divided by a walkway at the base of the upper falls. The Laurel Falls Trail is a great hike for all skill levels and typically takes between 2 and 3 hours to complete.
2. Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is another great winter waterfall hike! When the weather is cold enough, an impressive ice formation builds around the falls. The trail gains about 1,500 feet in elevation from the start to the waterfall, so if you’re up for a more challenging hike, this is the one for you. It is a 5.4 mile roundtrip hike to the waterfall and back. If you want to continue, follow the trail another 4 miles until you reach the summit of Mount LeConte. Mount LeConte is the third highest peak in the Smoky Mountains National Park.
3. Alum Cave Trail
The Alum Cave Trail is another popular winter hike in the Smoky Mountains because of the gorgeous icicles you can see. During the warmer months, water droplets fall from the ledges of the bluffs. In the winter, those water droplets turn into large icicles hanging from above. The trail is 4.4 miles to the Alum Cave Bluffs and back. Along the way, you will see Arch Rock and experience breathtaking views from Inspiration Point. The Alum Cave Trail also continues to Mount LeConte.
4. Porters Creek
Porters Creek is popular during the spring and summer because of its variety of wildflowers, but it’s a great hike during the winter as well! This trail includes everything from historic sites to a waterfall. Hikers will pass John Messer’s cantilevered barn, a historic farm site, the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club Cabin, a 60-foot waterfall, and more. Porters Creek is great during the winter because it offers easy car access and has a lower elevation with gentle climbs!
These are just some of the incredible winter hikes in the Smoky Mountains that you should try after your zipline tour with us! Book your zipline tour with us today to start planning your winter vacation in the Smokies.