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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
314.00 ft (95.71 m)
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
2.30 mi (3.70 km)
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Laurel Falls is an 80-foot waterfall and one of the most popular hikes for families in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The falls consists of an upper and lower section and is a stunning site to see. The trail that leads to Laurel Falls is much shorter (2.3 mile round-trip) and flatter compared many of the other trails in the Smoky Mountains. It is a beautiful, paved trail that flows through a lush, old-growth forest. The trail ends at the base of Upper Laurel Falls and provides for a stunning, up-close view of the falls. When snow starts to melt in the spring, or after a period of rain, the falls flow becomes quite heavy and it is truly a beautiful site for the family to see.  

Because the hike is so scenic and popular, it may be difficult to find a parking spot during the peak season. If you are looking to avoid the heavy crowds, it is best to embark on this hike in the early morning, evening, or during the off-season. Expect the heaviest crowds during the weekends of the peak season.

Although this is a very popular trail for families, there are still some dangerous aspects of the hike. It is best to keep an eye on smaller children because the trial sits on the edge of steep drop-offs at some points. In addition, the trail traverses through bear country. Bear sitings are rare because of the heavy traffic of people, but there have been bear sitings in the past.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Family friendly. Stunning waterfalls. Short distance.

Cons

Very crowded. Limited parking.

Trailhead Elevation

2,363.00 ft (720.24 m)

Highest point

2,677.00 ft (815.95 m)

Features

Family friendly
Near lake or river
Waterfalls
Wildlife
Wildflowers
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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