The Smokies have some of the most incredible natural features in the entire country. You don’t want to miss out on the sweeping mountain views or rushing rivers. People love hiking to see these beautiful sights, and some of the most popular natural features are waterfalls. Here are the top 5 waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains:
1. Laurel Falls
The most popular waterfall hike in the Smoky Mountains is Laurel Falls. This trail is considered easy at 2.6 miles roundtrip, and it has a paved path. People of all ages enjoy hiking to Laurel Falls all throughout the year. In the spring, you will see a ton of mountain laurel, which is where the trail and the waterfall got their names. In the fall, you can enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves. When you reach the top of the hike, you will take in the 80-foot-tall waterfall with two tiers. It’s definitely a sight you will want to experience!
2. Abrams Falls
Another trail people love to hike is Abrams Falls. Abrams Falls trailhead is located along the Cades Cove Loop, about halfway through. The trail is 5 miles roundtrip, and it has a ton of old forest growth. There are huge trees and wildflowers to take in during spring. This is a great trail for kids, teens, and adults to enjoy together. At the end of the trail, you will see Abrams Falls. It is 25 feet tall, and the amount of water that gushes over the falls is impressive. You might even see people fishing in the creek!
3. Grotto Falls
Grotto Falls is a popular waterfall hike in the Smoky Mountains. You will take the Trillium Gap Trail through the dense forest and hike alongside the creek. The roundtrip length is 3 miles, and this trail is considered moderate. If you start early in the day during the week, you might see the llamas that take supplies to the summit of Mount LeConte! About 1.5 miles in, you will come up on Grotto Falls. This waterfall is 25 feet tall, and it is the only waterfall in the Smokies you can walk behind. Water pours into a pool, and you will see fish swimming in the water. You might even spot salamanders in the water, as well as turtles!
4. Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is an impressive waterfall in the Smokies you will definitely want to see. The roundtrip length to the falls is 5.4 miles, and the trail is considered moderate. You’ll make your way through old forest growth and beside creeks. In the spring, there are a ton of wildflowers along the path. Rainbow Falls is 80 feet tall and the largest single-drop waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
5. Ramsey Cascades
The hardest waterfall to get to, but arguably the most impressive one to see, is Ramsey Cascades. The trail to reach the falls is considered difficult at 8 miles roundtrip. Most of the trail follows along creeks and the river, so you’ll have a pleasant view the entire hike to the waterfall. Once you reach the falls, you will see hundreds of tiers with water rushing over them. The waterfall itself is 100 feet tall, and the water flows into a pool at the bottom.
We know you won’t want to miss out on any of these waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains. Want to know what you can do around town in addition to hiking in the national park? Look through our Adventure Power Pass to see what kinds of deals you’ll get on local attractions when you book one of our cabins!