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Laurel Falls Trail

 4.0 (9)
Trail Mapped Wrong?


4.1 Miles 6.6 Kilometers


1,759' 536 m


-32' -10 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (13°)

4,017' 1,224 m


2,290' 698 m




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

David Hitchcock


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.
Features: Waterfall [Add/Remove]
Family Friendly: The first 1.1 miles of the trail are paved, with a moderate climb. Due to steep drop offs at the end of the trail, its a good idea to keep a close eye on children during the hike.
Dogs: No Dogs

Description [Suggest Changes]

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 hikes 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 hike 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 [Suggest Changes]

Mountain laurel around the falls.


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Your Check-Ins


May 30, 2018
Mike Moser
May 30, 2018
Jake Reed
Hiked from base to laurel falls 3mi
May 25, 2018
Zoe Newland
May 18, 2018
Diana McAleer
Well we hiked this trail twice. Not by choice. We managed to lose the key to the car. So we hiked back through to see if we could find it. No luck. :( 6mi
Mar 19, 2018
Shane Finnerty
Mar 14, 2018
Brent Coleman
Mar 14, 2018
Stephanie Freeman
Feb 18, 2018
Brian Carpenter
Came down off Little Greenbrier. Falls had great flow. Whole trail completed several years ago off of Cove Mtn 3.1mi

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 9 votes


in Elkmont


  4.0 from 9 votes
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in Elkmont


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651 Since Sep 4, 2015
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