Laurel Falls is one of the most visited spots in the Smokies. It's close to Sugarlands Visitor Center, which is close to Gatlinburg. And it's paved, so it's wheelchair and stroller accessible.
When we first moved here, we took a picture of Laurel and Jesse in front of this sign (Duncan wasn't yet born) and swore we'd return every year to take their picture by the sign. (Laurel, by the way, was not named for these Laurel Falls but for the laurels in upper East Tennessee where we went to college.)
The thing is, we really don't like to go to Laurel Falls. In fact, this was the first time we have been in about seven years. Randy needed to drop his car off at the Sugarlands so that he could hike from Laurel Falls back to the Sugarlands, so Duncan and I decided to hike the first portion (just up to the falls) with him. (You can read about the rest of Randy's hike on 900-Miles.)
It's not that the trail, being in the Smokies, isn't pretty. I don't think there is any spot in the park that isn't beautiful.
There are a few nice views along the way.
And trail-side treasures.
And hiking in general is just a good thing to do on a summer day.
What I don't like about Laurel Falls is that this is what you see at the end of the trail:
All these people, and many, many more to come (a bus was just letting off as we returned to the parking lot), taking pictures of this:
It's probably about the least impressive falls in the Smokies. I felt sorry for the people hiking up with such great anticipation. I felt like apologizing. One lady was huffing and puffing on her way up and said, "There had better be something amazing at the end of this trail! It had better be a pot of gold!" ("Or," her husband replied, "a bar!") I hope she found this to be worth her efforts. I suppose that if you don't know some of the other beautiful spots that the Smokies has to offer, you could be thrilled with the pot of gold at the end of this 1.3 mile trail.
I am happy that you are here exploring our beautiful park, and I'm glad you are getting exercise and fresh air, but please don't wear high heels when you hike. It's just silly.
Linked up on Outdoor Wednesday at A Southern Daydreamer