5 Unique Waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains

February 04, 2022

When hiking in the Smokies, it is not uncommon to find trails that pass by or cross over water features like creeks and rivers. However, Smoky Mountain visitors often try to find the view of waterfalls along hiking trails! Here are 5 unique waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains that you’ll want to find:

Grotto Falls

To get to Grotto Falls, you’ll start by taking the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, which gives you access to Trillium Gap Trail. As you progress on Trillium Gap Trail, you’ll eventually reach Grotto Falls. When you venture to this waterfall, you’ll be excited to find that you can actually walk behind it as part of the trail — a feature that is not very common in the Smokies! Trillium Gap Trail makes for a great summer hike, as the area around the falls is cool and moist. It usually takes about 2-3 hours to explore the trail round trip.

Place of a Thousand Drips

Place of a Thousand DripsThe Roaring Fork Motor Trail will also take you to Place of a Thousand Drips. You actually don’t have to leave your vehicle to get a look at this one! Place of a Thousand Drips gets its name from the several smaller cascades leaving a small cave and flowing over rocks from 20 to 30 feet above. Like most waterfalls, this one may go from a bare trickle to a rushing flow, depending on the amount of rain that has occurred by the time you see it.

Rainbow Falls

You can find Rainbow Falls on Rainbow Falls Trail, a roundtrip hike of approximately 5.4 miles. You also have the option to keep hiking beyond the falls to reach Mt. LeConte, which is 4 miles further. When the sun hits these falls just right, you can see a full rainbow across the falls! Additionally, if you venture the Rainbow Falls Trail during winter, the waterfalls become beautiful ice structures.

Mingo Falls

Mingo Falls

Mingo Falls is one of the tallest waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains! You can find the falls near Cherokee NC on an out and back trail of 0.3 miles. The hike begins with around 160 steps that lead to a viewing bridge over Mingo Creek in front of the falls. When you reach them, you’ll find that they cascade from a height of 120 feet but flow over 200 feet of rocks and boulders.

Mouse Creek Falls

In order to find Mouse Creek Falls, you have to take the Big Creek Trail. The trail follows the path of an old railroad grade that was previously used for lumber hauls in the 1900s. A little after 2 miles into the trail, a side trail will lead the way to see Mouse Creek Falls, which flows from a 45-foot height. However, on your way to Mouse Creek Falls is a smaller waterfall that flows into Midnight Hole. Although Midnight Hole is not a waterfall, it is still an interesting water feature to experience. Surrounded by boulders, it is a deep pool of beautiful green water and is the perfect place to take a swim during the summer!

These are just a few of the amazing waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains that you’ll want to experience. Want to find some other interesting things while hiking in the Smokies? Look for these hidden gems during your visit!