Great Family-Friendly Hiking Trails in Sevierville

There is no doubt that we live in a digitally driven and obsessed world. Even as parents actively work to limit their family’s screen time, social media and gaming apps have a way of sneaking through and quickly capturing one’s time and attention. One excellent way to get the family to disconnect from their devices and connect with the larger in-real-life world around them is by going out and exploring nature at some great family-friendly hiking trails in Sevierville, TN.

Hiking trails offer a myriad of benefits for the family with young kids. Here, is a cheap (generally free!) way to get some quality bonding time with the family out in a new environment. The great outdoors has a special beauty that often entices young children and, as they hike and run about exploring, they get to expend some energy and enjoy healthy exercise.

Now, some places naturally have access to better hiking trails than others. Sevierville, being just north of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and within a short drive of other preserved natural areas, offers easy access to a great array of trails. The following is a quick look at some of those trails that we find are absolutely perfect for families with young children to go out and enjoy:

Trotter Bluff Loop 

The Trotter Bluff Loop is a moderate 1.2-mile loop trail that’s located just north of Sevierville and on the western edge of Douglas Lake. This trail lies within a preserved public land area known as the Trotter Bluff Small Wild Area which was designated to protect local limestone sinkholes that offer a special home to area amphibians and wildflowers. Those same amphibians and wildflowers make this an excellent hiking trail for young children looking for small critters and beautiful things.

You will find the trailhead for the Trotter Bluff Loop located on the west side of Boat Launch Road in the Douglas Headwaters Campground area. Note that you cannot camp along the trail itself, but that campground does offer a nice place to set up a tent and enjoy morning hikes and afternoons swimming at the adjoining Dam Swimming Hole. The trail itself meanders through mature, hardwood forests and runs alongside those aforementioned limestone sinkholes. While there is a bit of an elevation gain, most (and especially those familiar with hiking in the area) will find this a generally easy route with a smooth trail surface. This trail can be completed in as little as twenty minutes, or take your time and let the kids explore along the walk. Just make sure that they know it’s as important to look up for wildlife as it is to look down here as eagles are often sighted roosting and hunting around these bluffs!

Sevierville Greenway Trail

The Sevierville Greenway Trail is a fantastic hiking pick for those staying in or otherwise visiting the downtown Sevierville area. This is a 2-mile looped trail that runs along both sides of the West Prong Little Pigeon River. If you do the full trail, you will cross the river twice, once along a bridge sidewalk neighboring US Highway 411 on the northern end and again on the southern end at the bridge sidewalk neighboring North Parkway.

While we’re not the biggest fans of these sidewalks that run alongside highways, overall the route along the river is easy to traverse and offers beautiful views of the area. Completing the whole trail can be done in 30 to 40 minutes with a normal walking pace, but you could go faster or slower depending upon your family’s hiking preference. There is virtually no elevation gain along the route, with the exception of the ramps leading up and down the bridges.

Malachi’s Cove Trail

Photo Credit by @sandam_joel

Malachi’s Cove Trail is not a well-marked trail, and you are not going to find any amenities at the trailhead as there aren’t any trashcans nor is there a designated parking lot. Located on the edge of Douglas Lake, you will find Malachi’s Cove Trail by going to the end of Dyke Road and parking along the pull-out there. While it is officially a trail and open to public use, some families might skip this one for it does not feel quite official with the lack of signage, designated parking, and other park-like amenities.

Those who do choose this hike will enjoy how it meanders along the lake’s shoreline, offering great water views and some good shoreline fishing opportunities. Malachi’s Cove Trail is about one mile in length — it is an out-and-back trail so overall, expect the hike to be just under two miles. The elevation change here is under 100 feet and only occurs when going down from the slightly higher land to the shoreline.

Gatlinburg Trailhead

water stream flowing over rocks in forest in gatlinburg trail

Located on the outskirts of Gatlinburg, TN and officially managed by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers, the Gatlinburg Trailhead is one of only two walking paths where dogs and cyclists are welcome. You can hop on the trail either in Gatlinburg or at the popular Sugarlands Visitor Center. The trail does not loop, so once you begin, remember that you are going to have to hike the same distance back. For this trail, the length is 1.9 miles, so potentially a 4-mile hike that can take around one and a half to two hours at a slower pace.

While the Gatlinburg Trailhead is one of the longer trails on this list, it is overall considered a very easy hiking trail. There is no distinguishable elevation change here as the paved footpath runs along the river. Walkers here can expect plenty of river and forest landscapes that are intermittently interrupted by the foundations and chimneys of several historic homesites.

Find More Sevierville and Gatlinburg Hikes

We have only begun to scratch the surface of hiking possibilities in this part of Appalachia. Learn more about all the fantastic hiking and other outdoor activities in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have to offer by visiting our other pages.