Friday, March 15, 2024

Laurel Falls via The Little Greenbrier

Smoky Mountain National Park
Sunday, February 17, 2024

Like Laurel Falls, but do not like crowds? Well then this just might be the hike for you if you do not mind putting in some mileage. There are a few ways you can do this hike but on this one I started at the Little Greenbrier Trail in Wares Valley and hiked 4.3 miles to where it intersects the Laurel Falls Trail. From there hiked another 2.2 miles to Laurel Falls and then took the same route back.

You could also take Little Brier Gap to Little Greenbrier to Laurel Falls. If you do not want to hike there and back and if you are hiking with someone else, you could always leave a car at the end of one of the trails and then drive to where you want to start. I did it this way several years ago and started with the Laurel Falls Trail.  

My Route:


Little Greenbrier Trail

4.3 Miles


Laurel Falls Trail

2.3 Miles


Laurel Falls Trail

2.3 Miles


Little Greenbrier Trail

4.3 Miles

You are going to have some elevation gain, but it is not too bad for the Smoky Mountains, and when the leaves are off the trees you will get some fantastic view over Little Greenbrier Trail. After the trail junction with Little Brier Gap there will be a couple sections of trail that will be narrow with a slight downward slope but nothing too serious. 

At the 4.3-mile mark you will hit the trail junction with the Laurel Falls Trail. To get to the falls you will want to go right or south but if you go left or north it will lead to an old fire tower. I have not been to this fire tower yet, but it is on my list of places to get to. From this junction heading to the falls, it will be a nice easy hike just over two miles or so.

Laurel Falls probably is the most visited waterfall in the Smoky Mountain National Park as the main trail is only about a 2.5-mile round trip. It was also paved up to the waterfall though a lot of the pavement is now washing away. The park in the very recent past has intuited a trial run of issuing permits for this trail and limiting parking to try and cut down overcrowding and damage to the landscape. 

With all this being said Laurel Falls is stunning and worth the trip, just make sure there are not any special steps you have to take before going. I spent about fifteen minutes or so viewing and filming the waterfall before making my way back up the trail. 

I had thought about having my coffee and lunch at the falls, but there were just too many people to be able to boil up coffee and relax, so I found a nice rock with a view a little way up the trail. The hike out was uneventful and relaxing, and made me think about spending more time in the location of the park. There are not any backcountry campsites around this area, so it will have to be day hikes.  

Stay tuned for my next adventure at my website As always, my friends hike on and stay safe! 



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