Easy Waterfall Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Are you ready for a breathtaking adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains? If so, you're in luck! This stunning destination is home to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in the country, and there's no better way to experience them than by hitting the trails. Whether you're an experienced hiker or a beginner, there's a waterfall hike for everyone in the Smokies. So, lace up your boots and get ready to explore!👟🏞️
The Wondrous Waterfalls of the Great Smokies
With over 100 waterfalls to take a fun hike and explore, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a waterfall lover's dream. These cascading falls range in height from just a few feet to over 100 feet and are surrounded by lush greenery and absolutely breathtaking scenery. From easy walks to challenging hikes, there's a waterfall trail for everyone.🌿💦
Navigating Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Before you hit the trails, it's important to familiarize yourself with the park. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is massive, covering over 500,000 acres. It spans two states, Tennessee and North Carolina, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including black bears, elk, and deer. Make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sunscreen, and always stay on the marked trails.
Cataract Falls – The Easiest to Access
Trail Length: 0.2 miles round-trip
Unique Features: This waterfall cascades over a series of rocks, making it a great spot for photography. It's located in the Sugarlands area of the park, just a short drive from Gatlinburg. 📸🚗
Out of all the easy waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains this one should not be missed for a beautiful waterfall, Cataract Falls is the perfect trail for you. This short, 0.2-mile hike leads to a picturesque waterfall that cascades over a series of rocks. It's located in the Sugarlands area upper and lower section of the sugarlands visitor center part of the park, just a short drive from Gatlinburg.
Laurel Falls – The Most Popular
Trail Length: 2.6 miles round-trip
Difficulty: Moderate difficulty Moderate
Unique Features: This 80-foot waterfall is one of the most popular trails in the park, thanks to its easy accessibility and beautiful scenery. The trail is paved and wide, making it a great option for families with strollers or young children. 👨👩👧👦🌈
One of the most popular hikes in the park, Laurel Falls, is a must-see. This moderate 2.6-mile trail leads to a stunning 80-foot waterfall that's surrounded by lush greenery. It's located just a few miles from Gatlinburg the visitor center and is accessible year-round.
Grotto Falls – The Most Unique
Trail Length: 2.6 miles round-trip
Unique Features: This waterfall is unique because you can actually walk behind it. The paved trail itself is a bit rocky in places, but the payoff is well worth it. It's a popular trail, so make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds. 🚶♀️💦
For a unique waterfall experience, check out Grotto Falls. This moderate 2.6-mile trail leads to a beautiful waterfall that you can walk behind. It's a popular trail, so make sure to arrive early to beat the crowds.
Spruce Flat Falls – The Off-Trail Adventure
Trail Length: 1.1 miles round-trip (off-trail)
Unique Features: This beautiful waterfall is a bit off the beaten path, so it's a great spot to escape the crowds. The trail is a bit rugged in places, but the beautiful scenery is worth the effort. 🌲🌺
If you're up for a bit more of a challenge, check out Spruce Flat Falls. This off-trail adventure leads to a beautiful 30-foot waterfall that's surrounded by rhododendron and hemlocks. It's a relatively short hike, just 1.1 miles, but it's a bit more rugged than some of the other waterfall trails.
Baskins Creek – The Hidden Waterfall
Trail Length: 3 miles round-trip
Unique Features: This hidden gem is tucked away in a quiet cove and is a great spot to escape the crowds. The trail is a bit more rugged than some of the best waterfall hikes in the others, but the beautiful waterfall is worth the effort. 🌳🦋
For a hidden gem, head to Baskins Creek. This 3-mile hike leads to a beautiful waterfall that's hidden away in a peaceful cove. It's a bit more secluded than some of the other falls, so it's a great spot to escape the crowds.
Hen Wallow Falls – The Quiet Waterfall
Trail Length: 4.4 miles round-trip
Scenery: Towering Trees
Unique Features: This beautiful waterfall hike is a bit off the beaten path, so it's a great spot to enjoy some peace and quiet. The trail is a bit rugged in places, but the beautiful scenery is worth the effort. 🌿🦌
If you're looking for a quieter waterfall experience, check out Hen Wallow Falls. This moderate 4.4-mile hike leads to a beautiful waterfall that's surrounded by towering trees. It's a bit off the beaten path, so it's a great spot to escape the crowds and enjoy the tallest waterfall in some peace and quiet.
Abrams Falls – The Classic Waterfall
Trail Length: 5.2 miles round-trip
Unique Features: This classic waterfall is one of the most popular in the park, thanks to its stunning beauty and easy accessibility.
For a classic waterfall experience, head to Abrams Falls. This moderate 5.2-mile hike leads to a stunning waterfall that's one of the most- popular waterfalls in the park. It's located in the Cades Cove area and is accessible year-round.
If you're up for an off-the-beaten-path adventure, check out Lynn Camp first middle Prong trail. This first middle-prong trail is a bit more rugged than some of the others, but it's worth it for the stunning views of cascading waterfalls. The first middle of Lynn camp prong trail is 3.5 miles round-trip and is located near the Tremont Institute.
For a challenging hike with a stunning payoff, check out the Rainbow Falls trail. This 5.4-mile trail leads to a towering 80-foot waterfall that's surrounded by lush greenery. The trail is steep and rocky in places, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water.
Indian Creek Falls
For a quieter waterfall experience, head to Indian Creek Falls. This 2.2-mile trail leads to a beautiful waterfall that's tucked away in a peaceful cove. It's a great spot to relax and enjoy the beauty of the park.
Deep Creek Waterfalls
Trail Length: Varies
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Unique Features: This area is home to three waterfalls: Juneywhank Falls, Tom Branch Falls, and Indian Creek Falls. Each waterfall has its own little river and unique charm, and the trails and footbridge connecting them to mouse the creek nature trail, and little river are perfect for exploring.
If you're looking for a waterfall adventure outside of the national park, check out the Deep Creek area. This area is located in the nearby town of Bryson City and is home to a deep creek trail and to three beautiful waterfalls: Juney Whank Falls, Tom, fern Branch Falls and, and Indian Creek Falls. You can hike to all three of the juney whank falls, the two baskins creek falls, rainbow falls trail, rainbow falls Trail, Baskin creek falls, and fern branch falls on a 2.4-mile loop of big creek trail.
Porters Creek Trail
Trail Length: 4 miles, quarter mile round-trip
Scenery: Wildflowers and Historic Buildings
Unique Features: This trail is famous for its stunning displays of wildflowers in the spring and early summer. It also features several historic buildings, including an old schoolhouse and a cantilevered barn.
For a beautiful hike with a historic twist, check out Porters Creek Trail. This 4-mile trail leads to a stunning waterfall and the creek nature trail also passes by several historic buildings, including a cantilever barn and a cemetery. It's a great trail for history buffs and nature lovers alike.
Trail Length: 8 miles round-trip
Unique Features: This towering waterfall is the third tallest waterfall in the national park service alone, standing at over 100 feet tall. The trail is strenuous but well worth the effort for the stunning views of the cascading falls.
For a challenging hike to one of the most stunning waterfalls in the park, check out Ramsey Cascades. This 8-mile trail leads to a towering 100-foot waterfall that's surrounded by old-growth forests. The trail is steep and rocky in places, so make sure to come prepared.
Gatlinburg Trails with Waterfalls
If you're staying in Gatlinburg and don't want to venture too far from town, there are the best waterfall hikes on several great waterfall trails located nearby. Check out the best waterfall hikes on the Sugarlands Valley Nature Trail, which leads to the best waterfalls, Cataract Falls, or the best waterfall hikes on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which leads to several stunning waterfalls, including Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls.
Trillium Gap Trail is a beautiful 6.6-mile round-trip hike that leads to the stunning Grotto Falls. This moderate-level trail takes you through the lush forests of the Smokies and offers some of the most breathtaking scenery in the area. Along the way, hikers will pass by stunning rock formations, babbling brooks, and towering trees. The trail is named for the trillium wildflowers that bloom in the spring, adding even more beauty to the already stunning landscape.
One of the unique features of Trillium Gap Trail is the fact that it's also a popular trail for horseback riding, so you may encounter some equine friends along the way. The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, making it an easy hike to follow even for beginner hikers. However, keep in mind that the trail does have some rocky and steep sections, so be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and take caution on the more challenging parts of the trail.
As you near the end of the trail, you'll hear the sound of the waterfall before you even see it. Grotto Falls is a unique waterfall in that you can actually walk behind it, making for some incredible photo opportunities. The cool mist from the falls provides a refreshing break from the hike, and the serene setting is perfect for a picnic lunch or just some quiet reflection.
Overall, Trillium Gap Trail is a must-see for anyone looking to experience the beauty of the Smokies. Whether you're an experienced hiker or a beginner, the trail offers a manageable challenge with a stunning reward at the end. Just remember to pack plenty of water, wear comfortable shoes, and follow the principles of Leave No Trace to help protect this beautiful natural area for future generations.
Other Nearby Attractions
In addition to the beautiful waterfalls, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a variety of other attractions that are sure to keep the whole family entertained. From scenic drives to historic landmarks, there's something in great about the smoky mountains on top for everyone.
Newfound Gap Road: This scenic drive offers stunning views of the park and is a great way to see the sights without having to hike.
Clingmans Dome: This iconic observation tower offers panoramic views of the park and is the highest point in the Smokies.
Cades Cove: This historic area offers a glimpse into the region's past and features a variety of preserved cabins, churches, and other buildings.
Conservation and Leave No Trace Principles
As you explore the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it's important to remember to practice the Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the park for future generations. This means packing out all of your trash, staying on designated trails, and avoiding damaging any plants or wildlife.
In addition, to Leave No Trace principles, it's also important to be mindful of conservation efforts in the park. The Great Smoky Mountains Association works tirelessly to support the park's conservation efforts and protect its natural beauty. By supporting this organization, you can help ensure that the great smoky mountains park remains a beautiful and thriving destination for generations to come.
With so many hiking trails and stunning waterfalls to explore, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a must-visit destination for any nature lover. Whether you're an experienced hiker or a beginner, there's a waterfall trail for everyone. So, lace up your boots and hit the trails to experience the beauty of the Smokies firsthand. And when you're ready to relax and unwind, head back to your luxury vacation rental at SBGetaways to rest up for your next adventure.
What is the easiest waterfall hike in the Smokies?
Cataract Falls is an easy walk or hike and is 0.2 mi RT.
What waterfalls are easy to hike near Pigeon Forge?
The waterfalls that are easy to hike near Pigeon Forge are Laurel Falls a waterfall hikes 2.6 miles round trip to upper falls from laurel falls trail, and Grotto Falls which is off river road is another easy waterfall hike hike 2.6 miles round trip mouse creek falls from gabes mountain trail.
Is Laurel Falls an easy hike?
Laurel Falls hike roundtrip distance to the tallest waterfall is 2.5 miles and the walk is moderately challenging.