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

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Point to Point

4,017' 1,224 m


2,290' 698 m


1,759' 536 m


32' 10 m



Avg Grade (5°)


Max Grade (13°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Waterfall

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.

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.


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

Mountain laurel around the falls.


Shared By:

David Hitchcock

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 45 votes


in Elkmont


  4.0 from 45 votes
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in Elkmont


13 Views Last Month
4,650 Since Sep 4, 2015



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
View over the Smokies.
Mar 25, 2018 near Gatlinburg, TN
Great Smoky Mountains National Park - Laurel Falls.
Aug 4, 2016 near Gatlinburg, TN



Current Trail Conditions

All Clear 39 days ago
Add Your Check-In


Oct 18, 2023
Scott Hainstock
Parked a couple of lots down the hill from the trailhead lot. 3.1mi
Jul 16, 2023
Tony Heil
Jul 5, 2023
Walker Jester
May 20, 2023
Abby Allen
May 15, 2023
AnnMarie Crump
Nice, mostly uphill hike. Beautiful falls! Pavement mostly but lots of ruts and washouts. 1.3mi
Apr 18, 2023
Helene Gaglioti
Apr 12, 2023
Gabrielle Ann
Apr 12, 2023
Bre Hartman
4mi — 1h 42m