Trail Run Project Logo

Laurel Falls Trail

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

4.1 mile 6.6 kilometer point to point
81% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,759' 536 m
Descent: -32' -10 m
High: 4,017' 1,224 m
Low: 2,290' 698 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 23% (13°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by David Hitchcock

An extremely popular trail to Laurel Falls, but a quiet climb to the Cove Mountain Fire Tower.

David Hitchcock

Features Waterfall

Closed when the Little River Road is closed from the Townsend Y to Sugarlands Visitor Center. For park road conditions, information can be found at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps or by calling (865) 436-1200 and dialing extension 2, 2.

Runner Notes

Paved for the first 1.1 miles to the falls, but busy with lots of families hiking in the area during the course of the day. Consider running early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

Description

From the Sugarlands Visitor Center, go 3.8 miles on the Little River Road. The main parking lot for Laurel Falls is on both sides of the road at the trailhead, with additional parking in lots on either side of the gap. From the Townsend "Y" intersection, take the Little River Road 13.7 miles to the Laurel Falls Trailhead.

The first portion of the Laurel Falls Trail is one of the most popular runs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park due to it being paved, having only 300 feet of elevation gain, and a rewarding view of 80 foot Laurel Falls 1.1 miles into the trail. However, once you pass the falls, you have a relatively quiet run in the woods to the top of Cove Mountain, where there is an old fire tower with limited views into Wears Valley, an area outside of the park.

As you start from the parking lot, follow the paved trail to Laurel Falls, an 80 foot waterfall that offers great photo opportunities, despite the number of people who will probably be there. Once you have taken all of your photos, continue on the trail up the hill. This is the beginning of your 2.9 mile climb to the top of Cove Mountain. You'll wind through a quiet forest, some areas which were not heavily logged by the various lumber companies in the early 1900s. About three miles into the trail, you'll find the intersection of the Little Greenbrier Trail, which you can take down to the Little Greenbrier School and Metcalf Bottoms via the Little Brier Gap Trail.

Continuing on the Laurel Falls Trail for another 0.9 miles, you end up at the intersection of the Cove Mountain Trail. You can turn right and take the 8.5 mile trail to Sugarlands Visitor Center or go left up the hill to the Cove Mountain Fire Tower. It's a great place to grab lunch before taking the Cove Mountain Trail or returning to your car via the path you came.

Flora & Fauna

Mountain laurel around the falls.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know

Is something wrong? Let us know. Have photos to share? Help fellow runners know what's here.

Contacts

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In

Check-Ins

none

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 23 votes

#1

in Elkmont

#1781

Overall
  3.9 from 23 votes
5 Star
26%
4 Star
39%
3 Star
30%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Elkmont

#1,781

Overall
88 Views Last Month
2,326 Since Sep 4, 2015
Easy/Intermediate

20%
52%
24%
0%
4%
0%

Photos

Hike the popular 2.3 mile roundtrip trail to reach the 80 foot Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The falls is broken up in an upper and lower section with a narrow bridge cutting across. This photo is shot at the bottom of the lower section of the falls.
Apr 7, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Laurel Falls by Smoky Moments Photography. Please don't attempt to climb on and around the falls. Several people have been seriously hurt falling on the slippery surfaces.
Oct 5, 2017 near Gatlinburg, TN
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Laurel Falls
Jan 21, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN
Vista on Laurel Falls Trail. Overlooking The Smoky Mountains.
Nov 24, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Laurel Falls Hiking Trail.
Nov 24, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN
Laurel Falls Trail.
Nov 22, 2015 near Gatlinburg, TN

0 Comments

Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running