Home / Blog / Smoky Mountains / 6 Paved Hiking Trails to Explore in the Smoky Mountains
Paved trail in woods with sunlight shining through trees
When you think of a hiking trail, you likely think of a single-track dirt path through the woods covered in rocks and tree roots. While this is often what most hiking trails are like, not all trails are the same. In fact, there are a few paved hiking trails nearby in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that are more accessible for everyone. Whether you have a wheelchair or a stroller or just prefer a more solid surface beneath you, you should check out this list of paved hiking trails.

1. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail

A great paved hiking trail near Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg is the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail. This trail is only half a mile in length and has a nearly flat paved surface. This paved hiking trail is considered wheelchair accessible and stroller-friendly. Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail is one of the only hiking trails in the national park that are considered fully accessible. On this trail, you’ll pass through the trees and near the river, allowing you to immerse yourself in the calm of nature. This paved hiking trail is near the Sugarlands Visitor Center on US441, about 0.4 miles past the visitor center on the left. There are designated accessible parking spaces as well as general use parking spots at the trailhead.

2. Laurel Falls Trail

laurel falls in the great smoky mountainsLaurel Falls Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains. This paved hiking trail near Gatlinburg is 2.6 miles round trip and is considered moderate in difficulty. The trail brings you up to Laurel Falls, which is an 80-foot waterfall with a walkway crossing the stream at the base of the upper falls. While this popular hiking trail is paved, the pavement is rough and uneven with steep sections. For this reason, wheelchairs and strollers are not actually recommended on this trail.

3. Cataract Falls ADA Route

The Cataract Falls ADA Route is a 0.7-mile out-and-back trail near Gatlinburg. It’s an easily accessible paved hiking trail that’s wide enough for wheelchairs and strollers. The wooden bridge contains sturdy railings for safety when you cross the stream. This trail is flat and mostly paved with cement and asphalt, allowing you to enjoy being out amidst the trees. To get to the Cataract Falls ADA Route, park at the Sugarlands Visitor Center just a few miles outside of downtown Gatlinburg. This parking lot has some accessible parking spaces in addition to general use spaces. Follow the signs for Cataract Falls and make sure to choose the paved pathway.

4. Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail

Clingmans Dome Observation Tower at dawnClingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail is one of the paved hiking trails nearby in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it’s not considered a fully accessible trail for wheelchairs and strollers. Though only about one mile round trip, this paved path is too steep to be wheelchair accessible. Clingmans Dome is one of the highest points in the national park, so you have to gain a lot of elevation in that short distance. However, if you do make your way to the top of the tower, you can see some of the most amazing views in the Smoky Mountains, with visibility up to 100 miles on a clear, sunny day. To get to the Clingmans Dome Observation Tower Trail, take Newfound Gap Road.

5. Look Rock Tower Trail

If you’re looking for an easy paved hiking trail, make sure you visit Look Rock Tower Trail. This is a 0.8-mile out-and-back paved pathway. Though paved, this trail can be steep in some areas, so be cautious. To get to the Look Rock Tower Trailhead, take the Foothills Parkway toward Walland and keep an eye out for signs for Look Rock Tower Trail. You’ll see a parking area, and the trailhead will be located across the road on the other side of the crosswalk. If you take the hiking trail to the end, you’ll get to an observation tower that can see 40 miles on a clear day. You won’t want to miss the chance to see these views!

6. John Oliver Cabin Access Trail

John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove Make your way out to Cades Cove to visit the John Oliver Cabin Access Trail. This paved hiking trail is relatively new and is easily accessible to everyone. This trail was created with accessibility in mind so that all visitors can explore the historic John Oliver Cabin. To get to this paved path, take Cades Cove Loop Road and turn off to the right when you see the sign for John Oliver Cabin. Then take the half-a-mile loop paved trail to see the historic cabin. This trail was re-done as part of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park’s effort to make the national park more accessible. Not only is this trail paved, it’s also 8 feet wide, giving wheelchairs and strollers plenty of room!

Explore More Fun Things to Do Near Pigeon Forge

Now you know about the 6 best paved hiking trails near Pigeon Forge so that you can spend time outdoors in nature. You also need to discover these fun, interactive things to do indoors in Pigeon Forge to cool off after a day spent in the sun. If you need a place to stay to chill after a long day of play, check out our Pigeon Forge hotel with indoor and outdoor pools.