A Hiker’s Paradise: The Top Hikes in Sevierville, TN

Set along the Little Pigeon River, Sevierville, Tennessee makes a heck of a home base for outdoor enthusiasts. For one thing, the little city lies just a hop, skip, and a jump north of one of America’s best-known and best-loved national parks: The Great Smoky Mountains, straddling the Tennessee-North Carolina line and encompassing some of the highest, wildest, and most beautiful mountains in the East.

But the close proximity to the Great Smokies isn’t the only attraction in Sevierville; there are fine hiking trails to enjoy even closer to town—indeed, in town! Here’s a roundup of some of the best Sevierville-area hikes to inspire your next Southern Appalachian getaway.

Brushy Mountain

Great Smoky Mountains National Park can be busy indeed—it’s the most popular of all U.S. national parks, after all. But there are plenty of lesser-trammeled routes among its 800-plus miles of trails, and you’d be amazed how many show off natural gems just as wow-worthy as the more celebrated—and crowded—destinations.

A case in point is Brushy Mountain, set in the north-central Smokies a stone’s throw from Gatlinburg and thus in that part of the park closest to Sevierville. You can reach the top from a couple of routes, but especially rewarding is the western approach via the Trillium Gap Trail off the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

This difficult 6.8-mile round-trip hike kicks off with old-growth hemlock stands and the lovely 25-foot Grotto Falls—a well-trammeled section of trail, but you’ll lose most of the company past the waterfall.

Hoof it up to Trillium Gap, then tunnel through a rather magical rhododendron-laurel slick to reach the 4,900-foot tippy-top of Brushy Mountain. The summit’s an awesome example of a heath bald, cloaked in the shrubbery, and serving up long views to Mount LeConte, Mount Chapman, Mount Guyot, Greenbrier Pinnacle, Charlies Bunion, and other striking landmarks.

Sevierville Greenway Trails

Photo Credit by @wesleyjeanne on Instagram

While there’s a wealth of trails in the city’s beautiful mountain hinterland, Sevierville has some fabulous urban walking as well. Those include some 10 miles of official greenways, which offer fabulous parkland rambles.

Along with the two-mile Middle Creek Greenway and the six-mile Veterans Boulevard Greenway, the West Prong Greenway makes a great choice for a walkabout after lunch or during sightseeing. It runs two miles along the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River and provides access to Sevierville City Park.

The Seclusion Bend Trail

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The Seclusion Bend Trail is a 5.2-mile trail and is one of several fine routes available in Seven Islands State Birding Park. A 416-acre refuge that’s only about a half-hour drive from Sevierville. Lying along the French Broad River and serving up views of the Great Smokies, the park’s not only a recreational destination but also a research and educational site, known—as the name implies—for its rich avian diversity: Close to 200 different species of birds have been recorded here.

You’ve got a good chance at spotting at least some of those—from warblers and other songbirds to waterfowl and raptors—on the Seclusion Bend Trail, which hugs the riverfront of Kelly Bend and threads a mosaic of fields, riparian woods, and copses. White-tailed deer are also common sights, especially early or late in the day. One of the better ways to spend a few hours in Sevierville’s vicinity, no question!

The Old Settlers Trail

Photo Credit by @daniel_mapels01 on Instagram

You’ll likely enjoy plenty of solitude along the Old Settlers Trail, among the longer-distance footpaths in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and one of the best for history buffs. Linking Greenbrier Cove with the Maddron Bald Trail, this 15.8-mile trail passes many signs of early mountain settlement, from old foundations and chimneys to the Lindsey Cemetery near the Snakefeeder Branch, reached by a spur path. Among the old homesites along the route is the Parton Place, settled by some of the forebears of Dolly Parton (herself born in a one-room cabin in the Smoky Mountain foothills).

Tackling the full length of the Old Settlers Trail is best done as a shuttle hike (with vehicles at Greenbrier Cove and the Maddron Bald Trailhead) or a backpacking overnighter, but even relatively short out-and-back forays along a portion of the trail will yield lovely forest vibes and some fascinating glimpses into the Smoky Mountain past.

The Laurel Falls Trail




Perhaps the most popular hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Laurel Falls is easily reached on a gorgeous drive south from Sevierville. This 2.6-mile, moderately strenuous trail, which is fully paved (but a bit rough and uneven in places), leads you to the namesake waterfall on the Laurel Branch: a beautiful double-decker falls totaling 80 feet high.

The waterfall is the star of the show, but the trailside forest is quite lovely—and, in spring and early summer, famous for the blooms of native mountain-laurel shrubs (for which the falls are named).