Waterfalls adorn most every stream in the Smokies. Only one waterfall, Meigs Falls, is visible from the road. It is 12.9 miles west of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. After a hike in the Smokies, sitting beside rushing water is peaceful and rejuvenating, but long walks are not required to enjoy all the waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains. Some of the waterfalls are easy to reach and others require some work. Listed below are some of the most popular waterfall hikes in the Smokies.
All of our Gatlinburg Cabins, Gatlinburg Chalets and Gatlinburg Condo Rentals are near the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so you have easy access to hiking in the Smokies. Right below our office at the corner of River Road and Ski Mountain Road you will find the “Happy Hiker” and their friendly staff can help you with trail maps and any hiking gear you might need. Plan your vacation in the Smoky Mountains and use our on-line reservation system to book your Gatlinburg Cabin, Chalet or Condo today!
Smoky Mountain Waterfall Hikes
|Abrams Falls||5 Miles||Moderate||Although Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height. The long, deep pool at its base is very picturesque. Trailhead: The turnoff for the trailhead is located past stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop Road.|
|Grotto Falls||3 Miles||Moderate||Trillium Gap Trail meanders through an old-growth hemlock forest and actually runs behind the 25 foot high waterfall. The cool, moist environment near the falls is ideal for salamanders and summer hikers. Trailhead: From the parkway in Gatlinburg, turn at traffic light #8 and follow Historic Nature Trail into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail to stop #5 where there is a large parking area.|
|Hen Wallow Falls||4.4 Miles||Moderate||The trip to Hen Wallow Falls is a pleasant walk through hemlock and rhododendron forest. A signed side trail leads to the base of the falls by way of steep switchbacks. Hen Wallow Creek, only two feet wide at the top of the falls, fans out to 20 feet at the base. The waterfall is 90 feet high. Trailhead: Park in the designated hiker parking area at Cosby Picnic Area (near the entrance to Cosby Campground).
Then backtrack on foot approximately 100 yards along the road to the signed start of the Gabes Mountain Trail.
|Indian Creek||1.6 Miles||Easy||The hike will allow you to enjoy two beautiful waterfalls in the Deep Creek area. Walk Deep Creek
Trail 0.7 mile to the junction with Indian Creek Trail. On your way you can view elegant Tom Branch Falls located on the far side of Deep Creek. Turn right at the junction with Indian Creek Trail and proceed approximately 200′ to Indian Creek Falls. The falls are 25 feet in height. Trailhead: Follow the signs through downtown Bryson City to Deep Creek Campground. Continue past the campground to the
trailhead at the end of Deep Creek Road.
|Juney Whank Falls||0.8 Mile||Moderate||Juney Whank Falls is divided into an upper and lower section. Both can be viewed from the footbridge which crosses Juney Whank Branch at the falls. Together they drop 90 feet from top to bottom. Trailhead: Follow the signs through downtown Bryson City to Deep Creek Campground. Continue past the campground to the trailhead at the end of Deep Creek Road. Backtrack on foot 0.1 mile along the road to the trail.|
|Laurel Falls||2.6 Miles||Moderate||The 80 foot Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited. The area is especially busy on weekends year-round and on weekdays during summer. Trailhead: From Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn toward Cades Cove on Little River Road and drive 3.5 miles to the trailhead where there are parking areas on both sides of the road.|
|Mingo Falls||0.4 Mile||Moderate||Mingo Falls is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At 120 feet tall, the waterfall is one of the tallest and most spectacular in the southern Appalachians. Trailhead: From Oconaluftee Visitor Center, drive south (toward Cherokee) on US-441 and take the second left onto Big Cove Road. At the first stop sign turn left and drive 4.5 miles to Mingo Falls Campground, where the trail begins.|
|Mouse Creek Falls||4 Miles||Moderate||Big Creek Trail follows an old railroad grade used to haul lumber out of the mountains during the logging boom at the start of the 20th century. At 1.4 miles the trail passes Midnight Hole, a deep, picturesque pool below a 6′ falls. At 2.1 miles a short side trail on the left leads to a bench where hikers can rest and view Mouse Creek Falls which is on the far side of Big Creek. The falls are 45’ in height. Trailhead: Exit I-40 at Waterville Road (#451). Turn left after crossing the Pigeon River and proceed 2.3 miles to an intersection. Continue straight, past the ranger station, to a large parking area at road’s end.|
|Rainbow Falls||5.4 Miles||Moderate||A rainbow produced by mist from this 80-foot high waterfall is visible on sunny afternoons. During extended winter cold spells, an impressive ice formation builds around the falls. Between trailhead and falls, Rainbow Falls Trail gains about 1,500′ in elevation. The Rainbow Falls Trail continues for approximately 4 miles beyond the falls to the summit of Mt. Le Conte. Trailhead: From the parkway in Gatlinburg, turn at traffic light #8 and follow Historic Nature Trail into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Continue past the Noah “Bud” Ogle homesite to the clearly signed Rainbow Falls parking area.|
|Ramsey Cascades||8 Miles||Difficult||Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park and one of the most spectacular. Water drops 100 feet over rock outcroppings and collects in a small pool where numerous well-camouflaged salamanders can be found. The trail to the waterfall gains over 2,000′ in elevation. Do not attempt to climb to the top of the falls. Several people have been killed trying to do so. Trailhead: Drive six miles east of Gatlinburg on Highway 321 and turn at the Greenbrier entrance to the park. Follow the signs 4.7 miles to the trailhead.|