Hike and Bike

Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains

These are some of our favorite hiking trails near Bryson City NC. Let us know of any questions you may have as well. Our goal is to assist you in having the best experience while visiting the North Carolina Smoky Mountains! Please note that many of the hikes have additional images when clicked.

clear and cool mountain waters flowing under a bridge in Deep Creek near Bryson City attractions

Deep Creek

We absolutely love the hiking trails in Deep Creek! This is a very popular tubing destination as well. There are waterfalls and a stream on almost the entire walk along with a swimming hole! Its an absolutely stunning place to hang out. This Smoky Mountain Hiking Trail has something for everyone! More info

Lightbox Launcher view of Tennessee from the Jumpoff Hike with a two thousand foot dropoff

Hike to the Jumpoff

The Jump-off is a really neat hike through many different types of rocky sections, large fir trees, and incredible views. This is a classic Smoky Mountain hiking trail for sure. Click on the pic above for additional images. The 7 mile round trip hike starts along the Appalacian Trail at Newfound Gap. To get there take Hughway 441 in Cherokee through Great Smoky Mountains National Park to the Newfound Gap Visitor Center. Check out more info on our journey on this hike here.

A crumbling Chimney from an old homestead along Goldmine Loop Trail

Goldmine Loop

This is a great 4 mile loop to complete while visiting the Road to Nowhere. Along this hiking trail in the Smoky Mountains you will get a quarter mile long tunnel, nice hike with a little elevation change, new growth forest, access to Fontana Lake, Scenic Views on the Road to Nowhere, and some older homestead areas! The trailhead begins at the end of the tunnel on Lakeshore drive about 10 miles into the Park from Bryson City NC. Check-out our blog on "Taking a Road Trip to Nowhere" or find out more information here.

Old torn apart plane on the mountainside of Browning Knob from a 1983 crash site

Hike to Browning Knob

This trip may belong in more of an interesting or Explore section rather than hiking trails. From Waterrock Knob Visitor Center along the Blue Ridge Parkway take the side trail just before the Summit of Waterrock Knob up and over Browning Knob. There is a side trail leading to a plane crash site that is really cool. You will need to check-out details from our hike here.

Woman leaning on a tree taking in the mountain views of Bryson City NC from Lonesome Pine Overlook

Lonesome Pine

The hiking trail to Lonesome Pine Overlook begins at the first gravel parking area on the left in Deep Creek. Take the Noland Divide trail up for 3.5 miles and the overlook sign will be on your left. You will travel up the entire way there; 2300 ft in elevation change as a matter of fact. This hiking trail in the heart of the Smoky Mountains will definitely provide a workout for your legs but it's well worth it! Tunnels of Mountain Laurel, phenomenal view, and solitude! Read more about this hiking trail and our tips here!

wooded path of the Oconaluftee river trail a top Bryson CIty attraction

Oconaluftee Trail

The Oconaluftee River Trail is located just inside the GSMNP Cherokee entrance. Its a very easy and mostly flat walk along the river and through beautiful forest. Bikes are also allowed on the hiking trail for a gentle and peaceful stroll or bike ride along the river! This is also a pet friendly trail making it a great choice if your visiting the area with your furry friends. Be sure to check-out our Pet Friendly Page for other recommendations on traveling with your pet to this area.

Whiteoak to Forney Creek Loop

A perfect Loop for those wanting a step above the loop trails found in the touristy Deep Creek is found along Lakeshore Drive. Yes, you will get to drive to absolutely "Nowhere"; walk through a dark creepy tunnel, experience solitude, beautiful rhododendron tunnels, creeks, rusting streams, large boulders; all in a manageable 8 mile hike. Check-out more on this hike here!

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Mt Leconte via The Boulevard Trail

Sooo Great! Get ready for a long day hike here, 12 miles total for the trip. The route includes a section of the Appalacian Trail, The Boulevard Trail, The wondrous Mt LeConte, and a steep descent down Alum Cave Trail. Well worth the exhausting hike! This is the longest route to Mt LeConte but is a more gradual climb with multiple sections of ascending and descending. You will need to take two vehicles or utilize a shuttle service. Check out the details from our hike and directions.

lush floral with a dirt walking path a top Bryson City attraction in the Summer

Waterrock Knob

Waterrock Knob sits at 5,820ft in elevation and is the highest point along the Blue Ridge Parkway. You can find the visitor center at milepost 451.2 and is about a 35-40 minute drive from Bryson City NC through Cherokee towards the Balsam Mountains. If your staying with us at The Hive Lodge this is the mountain range you are viewing in the distance. One of the really neat things to do on this short but steep hiking trail is to climb Waterrock Knob and take a look back towards Bryson City NC and the Hive Lodge! More Info

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Hike to The Pinnacle

If you’re looking for a challenging place for hiking in Western NC with rewarding views from the summit then look no further than Pinnacle Park in Sylva NC. Pet friendly trails in the Smoky Mountains are hard to find but the trails here are conveniently pet friendly. This protected conservation land is an old watershed for the town of Sylva NC. Remnants of the town water supply still remain and make this a very interesting place for a hike in the smoky mountains. Before heading out view details for this hike on our Guide Page for Pinnacle Park.

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Smokemont Loop

Smokemont Loop is a nice 6 mile hiking trail located just inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It features about 1000ft of elevation gain on the backside of the hike. Beautiful streams and mountain laurel is in abundance along this trail. To get to the trailhead go to the Cherokee entrance to the park and drive a few miles along How 441 to reach Smokemont Campground. The trailhead is located at the back of the campground.

man laying across two enormous trees in Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest near Robbinsville NC

Joyce Kilmer Forest

A great 45 minute drive west towards Fontana Dam and Robinsville, NC; this old growth forest has massive trees and beautiful walkways through the forest. This hiking trail will lead you in a figure eight loop that your family and kids will surely remember! More Info

long and natural rock stircase on CHimney Top Trail Great Smoky Mountains

Chimney Tops Trail

Located on the other side of the Park just a few miles before Gatlinburg, this is an excellent hiking trail that is very steep. It has absolutely stunning trail rehabilitation by the National Park Service that took around three years to complete. You will have a small stream for most of the 2 mile hike up. It is very steep with tons of steps and around 900 ft of elevation gain. It is well worth the hike though so if you are not an avid hiker just take small sections at a time. Access to the actual "chimney tops" is prohibited at this time due to the fires from 2016. There is currently a viewing area that shows just how sharp of a ridge line was beneath the tree covered canopy at one time. It's all bare rock and dead trees at this time.

blue skies above old mountain watch tower wesser bald fire tower near Bryson CIty NC

Wesser Bald Fire Tower

This is a nice hiking trail that is good for all experience levels. It most certainly has a little bit of up hill elevation gain but nothing too serious. This area and hiking trails were effected by wildfires and that will show along the 2.5 mile round trip hike. You will love the drive out through the Upper Nantahala River area into the middle of no where. Stunning views from atop of the fire tower await! And don't worry there is a nice viewing spot below the tower for those not keen on heights or towers. Check out more details here.

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Kephart Prong Trail

This is a nicely shaded beginner trail with unique history, old building foundation remains, and other historical structures from the Great Depression era. Click on the pic above for additional images. It's a relatively easy 7 mile out and back to the Kephart Prong Shelter. However, this hiking trail is very rocky and has incline much of the way there. It's a good "next step" hike from the trails in Deep Creek. You will love all the foot logs on the trail! It's located about 7 miles from the National Park Visitor Center in Cherokee traveling towards Newfound Gap. There is a parking pull-off on the right with a bridge.

National Park Info

GSMNP Trail Map

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Be sure to get the Chimani: National Parks App to assist with planning your trip inside the Park. the app features interactive maps, photos, points of interests, hiking trails, picnic spots, and offline maps.

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Biking in the North Carolina Smoky Mountains

view of Fontana Lake through the forest trees along Tsali Mountain Biking Trail

Tsali Recreation Area Mountain Biking

Tsali is a classic and famous mountain biking course with phenomenal views of Fontana Lake and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It consists of four trails and is an IMBA Epic rated course. This also makes our Top 10 List of things to do in Bryson City!

Mountain bikers on wooden platforams and bridges along the Fire Mountain Trail System

Fire Mountain Trail System

This is a brand new trail system that is around 8 miles in total length. Its very, very fast and smooth with berms, BMX style jumps and flow to it and well constructed bridges. Don't miss this new trail system that surely to become a favorite over the next few years! More info.

Tsali Cycles Rentals

So you came to the are and did not think about bringing a bike or didn't want to travel with it? Thats no problem at all you can rent one from Tsali Cycles in downtown Bryson City NC. Whether you want to ride the classic Epic ride of Tsali Recreational or the new flowing Fire Mountain system in Cherokee they have you covered! You can also take a more leisurely ride through Deep Creek or the Oconaluftee Trail in Cherokee. More info on Tsali Cycles Bike Shop

wooded path of the Oconaluftee river trail a top Bryson CIty attraction

Oconaluftee Trail

The Oconaluftee River Trail is located just inside the GSMNP Cherokee entrance. Its a very easy and mostly flat walk along the river and through beautiful forest. Bikes are also allowed on the trail for a gentle and peaceful stroll or bike ride along the river!

Deep Creek and Indian Creek

Known for the streams, hiking trails, waterfalls, and tubing; located just inside the Bryson City NC entrance to Smoky Mountains National Park. Riding to the top of the trail that allows bikes is very wide and a great leisurely ride with only a couple of short uphill sections. You will love the stream on either Deep Creek Trail or Indian Creek Trail. Indian Creek is a little longer but has a little more uphill that is rather gradual.