5 Convenient Trails to Trek in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg

Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and Gatlinburg welcome millions of visitors annually with world-class attractions, shops, and dining. Many plan trips to the mountains but end up sticking to the sights and sounds of these cities. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts 150 official hiking trails, although it can be hard to pull the family away from the attractions in town.

Here are 5 convenient and accessible trails in Sevier County:

Sevierville Greenways

Greenway in Sevierville, TN

Sevierville has miles of thoughtfully designed greenways for residents and visitors to enjoy. To stretch your legs and take in some fresh air, hop on these paved walking trails and see Dolly’s hometown from a different perspective. It will be refreshing to take a break from the attractions, shops, and other things to do in Sevierville. 

The Memorial River Greenway is an easy 0.6-mile walking trail along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. Wild birds such as herons, ducks, geese, and songbirds inhabit this area. Stroll and enjoy a well-landscaped trail of flowers and a variety of native trees. Find parking and the trailhead on this map.  

Follow the path to Sevierville’s City Park. The connecting trails create an easy 2-mile loop trail. The park offers a playground, tennis courts, pickleball courts, restrooms, and a seasonal pool. Sevierville’s greenways introduce walkers to lesser-known parts of Sevierville.

Pigeon Forge Greenways

Pigeon Forge greenway

The greenways in Pigeon Forge are right in the middle of it all! The Riverwalk Greenway in Pigeon Forge also follows the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River. It includes over 4 miles of trails. You would never guess that you’re right in the middle of Pigeon Forge.

Additionally, the greenway at Wear Farm Park offers over a mile of trails including a loop surrounding the park’s playgrounds and the baseball complex. Walk your dog, get in some exercise, or stroll while your kids are at play. It is the perfect place to get out and enjoy nature without leaving Pigeon Forge.

Trotter Bluff Small Wild Area

wildlife in Sevierville

The Trotter Bluff Small Wild Area is a nature lover’s paradise and hiking here is an alternative to driving into the national park. Located on the Douglas Dam Reservation in Sevierville, the 1.2-mile loop trail is moderately difficult and begins with breathtaking views of the Great Smoky Mountains. The bluff is a 400-foot cliff that overlooks the French Broad River. Hike through 30 acres of this mature hardwood forest where you’ll find wildflowers and wildlife. Did you know the Smoky Mountain area is the salamander capital of the world? You may see some here. See the limestone sinkholes that amphibians inhabit. 

The trailhead is in the Douglas Headwater Campground where restrooms and picnic areas are available. When traffic deters you from driving to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, head out to this site for a satisfying dose of the great outdoors!

Seven Islands State Birding Park

View the Smoky Mountains from a different perspective.

Locals adore Seven Islands State Birding Park for its natural environment of aquatic and grassland habitats. The stunning 416-acre park sits on the French Broad River just outside of Sevier County in Knox County. It is closer to Interstate 40’s famous Exit 407 rather than the main entrance to the GSMNP, so if you’re staying in Sevierville, this is a smart idea. It’s especially wise when traffic congestion peaks in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. Simply head in this opposite direction to see the Smokies from a different perspective. Visitors will appreciate the captivating views of the Smoky Mountains from Seven Islands State Birding Park. 

There is an easy 1-mile hike and more challenging trails for hiking too. See the park map here. A canoe and kayak launch provides access to the French Broad River. Visitors will enjoy plenty of photo opportunities in this serene spot. Bring your binoculars to spy on the 190 species of birds. It’s a bird watcher’s paradise! Plenty of other wildlife calls Seven Islands State Birding Park home too.

Porters Creek Trail

Hiking in the Smoky Mountains

We’re kind of cheating with this one but it fits with our theme: Porters Creek Trail is within the park’s boundaries although it is on the less traveled Greenbriar section of the park. Find the entrance that leads to this hiking trail on Highway 321, also known as East Parkway, in Gatlinburg. During peak travel times, visiting this lesser-known side of the park means less traffic. As you head to the trailhead, stop at Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin for breakfast!

Hikers love exploring Porters Creek Trail because of its beautiful waterfalls and the remnants of an old cemetery and a historic farm site. This fascinating combination of nature and history gives hikers a unique perspective on the lives of early mountain settlers.

This moderate 7-mile roundtrip hike is perfect for those who have done many of the top trails in the Smoky Mountains and are ready to try something different. It is also smart for those seeking to avoid traffic and crowded trails during popular times of the year, like summer.

Hiking INSIDE the GSMNP: Alum Cave Bluff

hiking in the Smoky Mountains

If you’re set on hiking inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, then Alum Cave Bluff is a great choice. It is one of our favorites and is one of the most famous trails in the park. The 4.6-mile round trip will take around 3 hours to complete. In addition, hiking beyond the bluff will take you to Mt. LeConte. Famous for its views and overnight lodge, Mt. LeConte is arguably the most famous destination in the Smokies. Numerous trails lead to the mountain peak, although Alum Cave Bluff Is the most common route. 

The Alum Cave Bluff’s trail offers interesting sites like the Arch Rock, which is a geological formation that hikers must climb through to follow the trail. Before you reach the bluff, pause at Inspiration Point to take in the spectacular view from 4,700 feet. 

Alum Cave Bluff is surprisingly not a cave; it’s concave. This 80-foot-high bluff is ideal for refueling and resting before continuing to Mt. LeConte or heading back to the trailhead. Hikers beware; the parking area is in high demand. The new “Park It Forward” parking initiative has reduced the parking space and motorists are no longer able to park parallel to Newfound Gap Road. Arrive early to score a parking spot or utilize a shuttle service.

Authored in Appalachia || Amy Morton


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