Gatlinburg is a vacation destination in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Just outside Gatlinburg, there’s one fantastic site, waterfalls that cascade over rock faces and cliffs to remind us of the mountain’s beauty. There are more than 30 cascading through forests around town; each has its personality.
Although no designated hiking trails are leading to them, some adventurous souls will go out into the woods looking for these secret gems tucked away in various corners of Sevier County. Some can be seen as approximately 20 minutes on foot, while others require more significant time commitments. Gatlinburg, Tennessee, is a beautiful vacation spot for those looking to experience nature and find some fun at the same time.
Popular and Best Waterfalls in Gatlinburg
Waterfalls are unique in its own way. It does not form like mountains do by wind and rain erosion or folding and faulting of rocks while some waterfalls are formed by glacial movement while others are man-made which includes building dams for hydroelectric generation or for recreation purposes, but regardless of their formation all waterfalls are awesome sites to behold.
In the Great Smokey Mountains National Park you can find many different kinds of waterfalls ranging from small ones to very large falls. While there are numerous waterfalls in Gatlinburg TN that it is difficult to select the top best, here are some of the most popular and beautiful in waterfalls you can visit.
- Grotto Falls
- Rainbow Falls
- Laurel Falls
- Ramsey Cascades
- Cataract Falls
- Hen Wallow Falls
- Abrams Trail
Grotto Falls, located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is a 50-foot waterfall that cascades into an elegant pool creating “the grotto,” which can be seen from observation decks along trails leading to the falls.
The waterfall known as Grotto Falls and Little Greenbrier River is a popular tourist attraction. It’s close to downtown Gatlinburg, so it can be easily visited by tourists who are staying in hotels there for convenience. Unfortunately, there aren’t any hiking trails at this location because the falls lie next to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park – but anyone can get here if they drive along Cherokee Orchard Road that runs adjacent to the national park itself.
Grotto Falls is a short drive from downtown Gatlinburg and Parkway (U.S. 441) on Cherokee Orchard Road, where you can see two waterfalls dropping over the rocks in front of you for 50 feet high on your left side near the entrance to the town known as “the tunnel.” It’s only 5 minutes away, so photographers have no problem catching dramatic angles with their cameras here because of proximity to the road that leads into city limits- it’s pretty easy!
Among the most popular attractions in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Rainbow Falls is a double waterfall at 80 ft high that can be viewed from Highway 321 between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The 6-mile scenic drive offers views of various waterfalls, historic sites, and more along its length.
If you’re not the hiking type, there’s an option to drive up to Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It starts from Sugarlands Visitor Center near Gatlinburg and is accessible by motorists, which discourages many tourists! However, that doesn’t stop those who love seeing nature firsthand.
Upon arriving at the trailhead, visitors can choose from three different observation decks and see Rainbow Falls in all its glory. Some people may find the hike back down challenging, but with all the beautiful views along the way, it’s certainly worth it!
This waterfall is a popular destination for tourists because of the colorful lighting during certain times, especially in October and early November when autumn leaves change colors. It’s also known as Grotto Falls due to its proximity to Grotto Falls above I-40 on the Little Pigeon River, just outside Gatlinburg, TN. The trailhead for Rainbow Falls can be found on Old Mill Road near the old mill off of highway 66 in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
Wondering what the best waterfalls in Gatlinburg, TN are? Look no further than Laurel Falls! Located along Little River Road, this waterfall is easily accessible from downtown. With a height of roughly 60 feet and an upper and lower section to explore, it’s clear that these falls will not disappoint.
The beautiful waterfalls of Laurel Falls are one that you should not miss while visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The large boulders in this waterfall serve as a perfect spot to sit and relax before venturing off towards more adventurous sites such as Abrams Creek, Grotto Falls, etc. Suppose six cars can fit into the parking area at once.
In that case, it’s best for others to park their vehicles along Little River Road, which also has several stairs leading up from there toward where they will eventually access Laurel Fall itself through a short hike on foot. There are restrooms near the parking area too so don’t forget them!
The Ramsey Cascades waterfall is located on the North Carolina and Tennessee border in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s an imposing, beautiful waterfall that cascades down for approximately 80 feet over several drops during its descent. These falls can be accessed using one of three hiking trails: Ramsey Prong Trail, Rich Mountain Trail, or Rough Fork Trail (all intersect at the top).
The 80-foot Elkmont Waterfall is one of the most famous waterfalls in Gatlinburg. People drive up to view it along highway 321, which intersects at this falls with three hiking trails: Ramsey Prong Trail, Rich Mountain Trail, and Rough Fork Trails.
Ramsey Cascades is a set of three beautiful waterfalls that cascade down into Deep Creek near Bryson City, NC. The parking area and trailhead are easily reached from I-40 by taking exit 451 for Highway 19E north towards Cherokee. Ramsey Cascades is one of the most impressive falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but it can be accessed by car along Highway 441, about 10 miles south of Gatlinburg.
Cataract Falls is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Gatlinburg, TN. The waterfall has large rocks that line its bottom and create deep pools, which are great for exploring.
Cataract Falls is a beautiful waterfall that flows from three different sections of the creek. Each unit has its unique charm, and it’s easy to find your perfect spot for relaxation or recreation. The water that cascades over the falls look like it is falling with a roar, giving rise to its name. There are three tiers of Cataract Falls, which you can climb down 50-100 steps to reach each one respectively.
This part has three separate drops within 4-5 yards. It’s a great place to take a break and enjoy this beautiful sight while spending time with loved ones exploring the massive pool at its base. It is perfect for a casual hike and photoshoot, even if you aren’t allowed to get closer than the base of the waterfall itself. The falls are easily accessible from an off-road parking lot with a nearby path leading up to them.
Both nature lovers and photographers should visit Cataract Falls in New York because it’s easy to access due to its small roadside park. People can take pictures of themselves standing at least 20 feet away from this natural wonder without getting into any trouble.
However, swimming isn’t allowed here since visitors may not wade or play around within 500 meters (or yards) downstream beyond that point which means no playing near/in front of these rushing waters when visiting. The best time to visit Cataract Falls is during the colder months when there are fewer people, and you will be able to enjoy your hike in peace.
Hen Wallow Falls:
The Little Pigeon River flows through the Great Smoky Mountains and past a parking area off Highway 321. You can hike to Hen Wallow Falls or stay at the lookout on top of it, where you’ll have a fantastic view over Gatlinburg.
“It’s a perfect hike for families and groups with children.”
To hike to the waterfall, visitors can start at the Sugarlands Visitor Center in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. From there, you’ll drive about 8 miles east of Gatlinburg before turning onto Little River Road or one of several other hiking trails that access this area. While these are all pretty strenuous hikes, it’s worth it for views like those at Hen Wallow Falls.
I want to tell you about Abrams Falls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With a drop that’s 60 feet, it’s an exciting place for anyone who loves hiking or nature photography.
The trail starts near Cades Cove and leads hikers past several more minor falls before reaching its final destination – Abrams Falls. The scenery along this path is breathtaking, so be sure to bring your camera. You can also stop at Cedar Tree Tower on the way back if you’d like some panoramic photos.
The Abrams Falls trail is 8 miles long and considered strenuous, but the waterfall drops into a deep pool with no current making it perfect for hikers to stop at while admiring this beautiful natural wonder.
Want to have some fun in Gatlinburg, TN? Then visit the waterfalls mentioned above. There are several within walking distance of town, so it should be easy for anyone. Gatlinburg is filled with waterfalls, but if you’d prefer to see them without going through town, I recommend this popular park falls.
You’ll have to get out and explore so you can see them all. Grotto Falls, Hen Wallow Falls, Lake Winfield Scott Waterfall (Grotto Falls), Rainbow Falls, and Ramsey Cascades. You can see their beauty by walking downtown.