Written by Rebecca Pittore of AllTheRooms
With tree-covered forests, breathtaking waterfalls, and swimming holes to dip in, Tennessee is full of trails and parks perfect for everyone to explore. Whether you’re a novice hiker or an expert, alone or with the whole family and your dog, you’ll find something for you in this charming southern state. Check out these seven short hiking trails in Tennessee.
Laurel Falls Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN
This easy hike is 2.3 miles and showcases some of the most beautiful landscapes of Tennessee. Laurel Falls Trail is located in the Great Smoky Mountains and takes you through towering pine trees, ending at the beautiful rushing waters of the Laurel Falls. The waterfall is 80 feet high and surrounded by glistening rocks and the green laurel plants for which the hike and falls is named. The trail is popular, so you’ll likely see many fellow hikers along the way. The hike’s easy nature makes it a great walk for any type of hiker.
Cotton Field & Boundary Trail in Stones River National Battlefield, Murfreesboro, TN
This beautiful Tennessee site is not just full of rich history but also great trails. The Stones River National Battlefield marks the site of an 1862 battle during the Civil War, though nowadays is better known as a vibrantly green park. The Cotton Field & Boundary Trail is lined with monuments, markers, and signs to teach hikers about the battle that took place in the park and commemorate the fallen soldiers. The path is open to cyclists, walkers, joggers, and your furry friend.
Gorge Overlook Trail & Woodland Trail in Fall Creek Falls State Park, Spencer
For stunning views in Fall Creek Falls State Park, check out the Gorge Overlook Trail and Woodland Trail. The trails combined are just under three miles, featuring paths that are moderately challenging. Together the trails loops around the park’s best features, including of course the 260-foot Fall Creek Falls themselves, and offers what many consider to be the best views of the park’s scenery.
Trillium Gap Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg, TN
This hike takes you to a paradise-like grotto hidden in the forests of the Great Smoky Mountains. Trillium Gap Trail is less than three miles round trip and is lined with towering, green canopies in a hemlock forest. The trail even goes behind the waterfall and all around the stunning grotto. If you’re up for something more strenuous, follow the Trillium Gap Trail toward Mt. Leconte, standing at 6,500 feet.
Rutledge Falls Trail in Tullahoma
This area is private property but is kindly open to the public by the owners. Rutledge Falls Trail sits in Tullahoma, TN, which is less than an hour and a half drive from Nashville. The route is short, but the the climb down to the falls can be tricky and slick. While at Rutledge Falls, stop for a picnic, a swim, or just enjoy the calm, refreshing water of the falls.
Benton Falls Trail in Cherokee National Forest, Elizabethton, TN
The Benton Falls Trail in Cherokee National Forest takes hikers through dense forests. The hike goes for a little over three miles, rising about 318 feet to the Benton Falls and Lake McCamy. The spot is a favorite amongst families and is dog-friendly. You just must keep your dog on a leash. The path is relatively easy and isn’t too steep until you get to the end near the falls. The area around the Benton Falls Trail is also home to many campsites, so pack up your tent and spend a night under the stars.
Twin Arches Trail in Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, Oneida, TN
Twin Arches Trail is a short journey at just a mile and a half. The hike goes through the North and South Arches, which are natural rock arch formations located right in the middle of the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. The massive arches are impressive structures but not the only sights along the trail. Twin Arches Trail also takes you to various structures to remind you of this area’s historic past.
Rebecca is a recent DC college grad who left the city of eternal brunch for the city of eternal spring to become a content writer at AllTheRooms in Medellin, Colombia. Likes include puppies, hiking, books, and fighting injustice.