The Laurel Falls Trail is one of the more popular hikes in the Smoky Mountains. Located just a little more than 4 miles outside of the Sugarland visitor Center, this 2.4-mile round trip hike provides visitors with the chance to get very close to one of the better waterfalls in the park.
As you make your way to the trail head, you will find parking lots available, as well as plenty of parking on the side of the road. Note: if you do need to park on the side of the road, you will need to make sure that all four tires are off the road, as this is a rule throughout the park. Because of its popularity, finding a parking spot in one of the lots or along the road can be difficult.
Hiking to Laurel Falls
Once at the Laurel Falls trail head, you will quickly notice that the trail starts off as a paved trail. This is one of the few trails that is paved the entire distance. Please note that this does not mean that this trail is handicap accessible. The trail is paved to minimize erosion, given the large number of visitors to the trail.
You will want to use caution, even if you are looking to take a stroller along the path, as you may encounter some difficulties maneuvering along the trail. As you make your way along the trail, you may also find yourself next to some steep drop offs.
The short hike to Laurel Falls is a great trip for the family. Once you are at the falls, the park has constructed a sturdy bridge that allows you and the family to safely stand very close to the upper falls and get that great selfie or family photo.
Once you are done spending time at the upper portion of Laurel falls, you could make your way down to the lower section of the falls. It is important to note that the park services do not encourage visitors from climbing on rock formations or going off the marked paths. Visitors do tend to make their way down to cluster of rocks at the lower tier of the falls. This provides you with a great view of the upper falls, while enjoying the lower falls.
The Laurel Falls hike is a must experience while you are visiting the Smoky Mountains. The path is easy to hike and the only difficulties you may have is finding a park spot!
Laurel Falls Trail Quick Guide
Total Distance: 2.4 miles out and back
Elevation Change: 314 Feet Gain, with an average of 273 feet gain per mile
Difficulty Rating: 2.93, which is considered an easy hike
Restrooms Available: No restrooms at the trail head
Parking: The Trailhead is located just a little less than 4 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg, just outside the Fighting Creek Gap. The main parking lot for Laurel Falls will be on your right, with additional parking across the street.
Interested in finding more fantastic hiking opportunities within the Great Smoky Mountains, check out our picks for the best Smoky Mountains Hiking Trails.