If you’re looking for a challenging hike that will also take your breath away with beautiful views, Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails Waterfalls is perfect. There are bound to be waterfalls on any hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but some tracks have more than others. There are also other things you can in the smoky mountains.
This article will give you a list of the best smoky mountain hiking trails waterfalls, with options for those who want to take an easy hike and enjoy them from afar, as well as those that would like a problematic trek up close.
Best Smoky Mountain Hiking Trails Waterfalls
Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the beauty of nature. The hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains are sure to offer some of the most beautiful views you have ever seen. There are so many trails to choose from, and they offer such different hiking experiences that you will be able to discover new trails every time. We have choosed the best and they are listed below.
- Laurel Falls Trail
- Ramsey Cascades
- Juney Whank Falls
- Porters Creek Trail Waterfall
- Rainbow Falls
- Mount LeConte
- Grotto Falls
- Cataract Falls
- Alum Cave Trail
- Abrams Falls
Let’s explore each of them in detail.
Laurel Falls Trail
One of the most popular and accessible hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Laurel Falls, is a 2-mile round-trip hike up an incline through a beautiful old-growth forest to view an 80-foot tall waterfall. The trail ascends Cove Mountain, leading past Laurel Falls, one of the most popular waterfalls in the national park, en route to the summit of Cove Mountain and the Cove Mountain fire tower.
Ramsey Cascades is located about three miles from the Clingmans Dome Parking Lot, and it’s another one of those hikes that has a waterfall as well as incredible views throughout its two-mile length. The trail to the falls starts moderate but then quickly changes mid-way through, so we suggest being prepared for this on your way up and coming down from Ramsey Cascades.
It’s a short hike that will take you through the lush forest to Ramsey Cascades, a fantastic waterfall with towering trees and wildlife. The output of this passage is more engaging than the input because it gets straight to what hikers want: nature! The tone also makes people feel like they’re on their way out for hiking which can motivate them even further.
Juney Whank Falls
Juney Whank Falls is a great reward for your journey despite being one of the more challenging hikes on our list. If you can make it past all of the physical exertions, then this waterfall will be well worth it.
Juney Whank Falls is water rushing over rocks, famous for the way it’s shaped like an upside-down horseshoe. The eighty feet drop creates hikers can walk through that to feel its power up close and personal. It has multiple parking spots at the trailhead, so you’ll have no trouble finding one when visiting this beautiful waterfall.
Porters Creek Trail Waterfall
Porters Creek Trail is a perfect hike for beginners because it’s only a three-mile round trip hike and has beautiful colors during certain parts of the year. After hikers pass two rocks that are partially blocking their view, they will find an old roadbed waterfall with colorful flowers, which changes directions depending on the time of the year.
On Porters Creek Trail, you’ll get to experience a unique and short hike that features both the beauty of waterfalls flowing straight down as well as cascading right by your side. If only every trail was this easy-to-do but also packed such an impressive punch.
Rainbow Falls is a quick and easy hike in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that takes hikers along an old road for a 1-mile round-trip to reach the falls. These falls were formed by rain and snowmelt over thousands of years, eating away at different rock sections until they all came together in one beautiful cascade off the mountain! The trailhead has plenty of parking available, so children will especially enjoy this hike as it’s very family-friendly!
Rainbow Falls is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in Gatlinburg. The 2.4-mile hike has minimal inclines, taking its time for you to enjoy the views and scenery along your walk up Mount Le Conte. As if that’s not enough, there are also some lovely vistas of Mt Leconte on this trail which makes it even better. Unfortunately, this waterfall can get crowded during wet weather or heavy rainfall, so we suggest getting there early before other people do too.
With incredible views at the summit of Mount LeConte, this hike is an excellent choice for those who are looking to challenge themselves. The trail starts with a drive up to Cherokee Orchard Road or Forest Service Road 441 before you take on 8 miles round-trip and 2400 feet of elevation gain.
The Grotto Falls trail is a 2-mile round-trip hike on the Trillium Gap Trail that links up with the main waterfall trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Despite its short distance and low elevation gain, this cannot be easy to get! It’s important to go when crowds are smaller (which may mean battling more people on the trillium gap).
Grotto Falls is a beautiful waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park with an easy walk. The lush greenery and cool air make it great for people to sit on rocks while enjoying the view of these fantastic waterfalls.
Although several trails lead down toward the river (all part of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail), Grotto Falls itself is only half a mile from the parking area to where it stands tall and proud at 90 feet high. The hike along this trail includes an elevation change of almost 600 ft., making it one of the higher elevation hikes on this list. However, you’ll find that everyone else who does make it will enjoy themselves at this great place for photos or just an easy day trip if you’re not into strenuous hiking.
Cataract Falls is located in the Greenbrier section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it’s one waterfall that’ll take your breath away over a 1-mile round-trip. The falls measure 50 feet high and cascade into clear pools that are made for visitors to swim in or relax by. Although parking is limited, it shouldn’t be complex finding space during less busy times of day if you make this trip out here soon.
It also makes for another popular destination among photographers who love to capture its beautiful images too. All types of people can enjoy the views at Cataract Falls, but those who fear heights may want to avoid this hike. Once you’re done reading about our favorite waterfall hikes in the Smokies, we hope that you’ll be super motivated to do some hiking and see all these fantastic waterfalls.
The waterfall is easy to reach, which you should add to your trip while in the area. After reaching Little River Road, you’ll find a large picnic area with several short trails down to the river and Cataract Falls Trail. Once you get Little River Road (which parallels the Little River throughout most of its route), parking spaces will be available along your hike until it reaches Cataract Falls, located nearby.
Alum Cave Trail
The challenging and exciting trail, the 4-mile round trip Alum Cave Trail is a hike from 1500 to 2400 feet. This trail does not lead to alum caves but is named after Archibald Collins, who discovered vast alum nearby in 1825. Going uphill on this strenuous yet rewarding landscape will leave you breathless at the top.
For those looking for a longer hike that ends with some incredible views, the Abrams Falls trail will not disappoint! The round-trip hikes take hikers on a strenuous 11-mile journey to see two beautiful waterfalls. Abrams Falls trail is a perfect option if you’ve got your camping permit, as overnight stays at one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s campsites can be very difficult to get during peak season.
There are many hiking trails in the Smokies, and we just highlighted a few of our favorite waterfalls in the park. Please do your research and remember that it’s essential to be prepared for any hike you take, especially when you go off trail or leave the beaten path.
Also, remember that venomous snakes such as copperheads and rattlesnakes live around the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so don’t get too close to them – less than half of all snakebites occur on trails even though hikers may spend more time near these animals while walking around. We hope this article has been helpful to you.