Worth the Sweat!
Challenging hikes are a great goal to work towards if you're not already pretty physically fit. The sense of accomplishment and rewards of amazing views are worth all the sweat and tired muscles. If you're looking for a challenge, the Smoky Mountains is the hiking spot for you!
I think this is the best hike in Cades Cove. Although you're pretty much climbing the whole way, it's not overwhelmingly steep. Lots of wildflowers along the way. The views are spectacular at the bald. Definitely a must-hike! It's 11 miles round-trip.
Alum Cave to Mount LeConte
This hike is an amazing adventure. The views are incredible. You might even come across some llamas along the way, like I did. It's 10 miles round-trip and the trailhead is located near Newfound Gap.
Located near Cosby campground, this hike takes you to a fire tower where you'll get 360º views (on a clear day:). It's an 11.4-mile hike there-and-back. If you're really up for a challenge, make it a loop hike for 16.1 miles.
This is my favorite waterfall hike because of the challenge and the falls are the highest you can get to by trail in the whole park. This 8-mile hike is located near the Greenbrier ranger station.
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