6 Best Hiking Trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park with Waterfalls

July 02, 2018

When the weather is beautiful and sunny in the Smokies one of the best things to go do is find some waterfalls! You can go dip your toes in the cool refreshing water that you’ll find on some of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park! We’ve made a list of waterfalls in the Smokies that you just have to see and even feel!  

1. Grotto Falls

You can find the start of the Grotto Falls trail along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Grotto Fall  follows along the Trillium Gap trail. It is 3 miles round trip. The trail is well worn up until the last half mile where it becomes much rockier. Grotto Falls is 25 feet high and is the only waterfall in the park that you can walk behind. This makes it one of the coolest, must-visit hiking trails in the national park.

2. Ramsey CascadesRamsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park. It is 100 feet tall! You can reach the trailhead of Ramsey Cascades in the Greenbrier area. The trail is 8 miles round trip. Portions of this hike are very rocky, so closed toe shoes are recommend. Because of the uneven ground and long length of this trail a walking stick may be a good idea to have for this.

3. Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls is located in Cades Cove. The hike is 5 miles roundtrip on a well worn path. Abrams Falls is only 20 feet tall. However, what makes this waterfall so magnificent is the significant amount of water that cascades over it! A unique feature of this hike is that you get to cross over three foot bridges during your trek to the waterfall.

4. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park! You can find the trailhead for this hike along Little River Road after you pass the Sugarlands Visitor Center and follow signs for Cades Cove. This trail is 2.6 miles round trip. Laurel Falls is 80 feet tall, and is a two-tiered waterfall. The foot bridge going across it is the perfect spot for pictures! This is also one of very few trails in the national park that is completely paved!

juney Whank falls5. Juney Whank Falls

The hike to Juney Whank Falls is short, but considered moderate in difficulty. It is only 0.8 miles roundtrip. You may access the trail at Juney Whank Falls in Bryson City, NC. Juney Whank Falls is a two-tiered waterfall and is around 90 feet tall! This is a great short hike to try!

6. Rainbow Falls

To access the trailhead for Rainbow Falls you will follow the Historic Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg. You will continue along the Motor Nature Trail until you see clearly marked signs for Rainbow Falls parking. The trail is 5.4 miles roundtrip, and considered moderate in difficulty. Rainbow Falls gets its name from the rainbow produced by the mist from the 80 foot tall waterfall. This is a great hike to explore during any season of the year! In the winter you can even see the waterfall freeze!

These are some of of the best hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains National Park to find picture perfect waterfalls at! Exploring these days on a warm sunny day will be one of the most refreshing things you can do in the Smokies! If you want to see other beautiful views that the Smokies have to offer, explore some trails with awesome views of the mountains next!