Best Short Hikes in the Smokies
A visit to Sevier County in East Tennessee wouldn’t be complete without actually putting your feet on the ground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Millions of people visit the Smoky Mountains each year, yet most don’t take advantage of what the park has to offer even though the weather is seasonably mild year round and begs you to enjoy the ‘great outdoors.’ If you find the idea of hiking a little overwhelming due to physical abilities, trail lengths or congestion at popular trailheads, don’t be discouraged. You can still get the full National Park experience at often unnoticed yet wonderful, marked paths known as “Quiet Walkways.”
Don’t let the name fool you; what quiet walkways may lack in distance and required physical endurance, they well make up for by making you one with Mother Nature. If you aren’t specifically looking for the small, “Quiet Walkway” signs near a pullout with just enough room for a couple cars, you just might miss them. Entering a Quiet Walkway for the first time is a little mysterious because there is no indication of how far you’ll walk, where the path will lead you, or what you can see along the way. It’s also not uncommon to be the only people along a quiet walkway, allowing for much needed solitude or an escape from the crowds.
Each walkway has its own unique qualities. On one you may stumble upon an old family cemetery leaving you to ponder life of the first settlers in the Smokies, and on another you may watch birds in their nest or see a bear in a tree. Wouldn’t you love to discover a boulder just waiting for you to take a seat next to a babbling brook?
Plan to find a Quiet Walkway along your drive so that you can pull over, stretch your legs, and simply enjoy the moment. This experience of being IN the park just might convince you that there is a trailhead with your name on it!
We hope you have a wonderful, safe and relaxing day in the park!