When you visit the Smoky Mountains, you want to see all the natural features in the park. One of the most popular sights to see are the waterfalls. Spend time outside by going on waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains! Check out these top 6 waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains you should try:
1. Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is the tallest single drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains at 80 feet tall. The hike to get to the falls is 5.4 miles roundtrip, making it a moderate hiking trail. As you’re making your way along the trail, the first section is considered strenuous, but you will also see beautiful wildflowers in the spring and summer. You’ll cross footbridges over creeks as you make your way along this trail. If you’re hiking to the falls in the afternoon, you will see why it gets its name from the rainbow you’ll see in the mist.
2. Grotto Falls
The trail to Grotto Falls is 3 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate. You’ll make your way through old forest growth, and the trail is rocky along many portions. Grotto Falls is unique compared to other waterfalls in the area; it’s the only waterfall you can walk behind. It stands 25 feet tall and pours into a pool of water. Due to the cool, moist environment around Grotto Falls, you’ll probably see salamanders in this area in the warmer months.
3. Laurel Falls
Because of the 2.6 mile roundtrip length, Laurel Falls is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains. The paved path also makes it easier than many other trails. This trail gets its name from the mountain laurel covering the path in the spring and early summer. Once you get to the top, you’ll see the 80-foot tall, two-tiered waterfall. There’s a footbridge that sections the falls into two parts.
4. Cataract Falls
If you have small children or adults who can’t manage a moderate hike, you should take the 1.1 mile roundtrip hike to Cataract Falls. The path is clearly laid out, making it easy to follow. You’ll see old forest growth, walk along a creek, and see Cataract Falls at the end of the hike. It’s perfect for families!
5. Baskin Creek Falls
Baskins Creek Falls trail is 3 miles roundtrip to the waterfall. This trail is unique because instead of hiking up to get to the falls, you hike up then descend to see the waterfall. The trip back is difficult since you have to hike up. The waterfall is 40 feet tall and pours into a large pool of water.
6. Ramsey Cascades
The most difficult trail but definitely worth the long hike is Ramsey Cascades. The trail is 8 miles roundtrip, and you’ll follow along streams and creeks most of the way. Once you reach the falls, you’ll see multiple tiers rushing over 100 feet of rocks, which is what makes this one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the national park.
No matter which waterfall hike in the Smoky Mountains you decide to go on, you’ll have a ton of fun exploring! Want to know what else you can do when you stay in one of our condos? Check out these other fun things to do!