Last week, we started taking a look at great waterfall hikes in the Smokies. With warmer temperatures, waterfalls and cascades make great hiking destinations now, and spring is the best time to see them in the national park. As the winter snows melt and the spring rains arrive, the waterways of the mountains are often swollen, which means full, beautiful waterfall flow. Here are a few more suggestions about some of the more popular waterfall hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (all distances listed are round trip).
And don’t forget that when planning your next hiking trip, we have a great selection of Pigeon Forge cabin rentals that are conveniently located near the park.
• Laurel Falls – This paved 2.6-mile hike is one of the easiest and most accessible waterfall hikes in the Smokies. The trailhead is located on Little River Road, 3.5 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The walking/hiking is easy and kid-friendly. At the end, you’ll enjoy the mist and noise of the 80-foot-high Laurel Falls.
• Rainbow Falls – You access this trailhead by getting on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail from downtown Gatlinburg. Go past the Noah “Bud” Ogle place and look for signs for the Rainbow Falls parking area. The moderately strenuous hike is 5.4 miles round trip to the 80-foot-high falls, and you gain about 1,500 feet in elevation. If you continue past the falls for four more miles, you’ll be at the top of Mt. LeConte!
• Ramsey Cascades – this 8-miler is a difficult trek, gaining 2,000 feet in elevation. But the 100-foot drop at the end is worth the trip. You’ll find the trailhead in the Greenbrier section of the national park, about 4.7 miles from that entrance.
Right now, the conditions are ideal for hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s warm and pleasant out but not too hot, especially in the higher elevations. Another great thing about hiking in spring is that it’s the best time to see the waterfalls of the national park. As the winter snows melt and the spring rains arrive, the waterways of the mountains are often swollen, which means full, beautiful waterfall flow. Here are a few suggestions about some of the more popular waterfall hikes in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (all distances listed are round trip).
And don’t forget that when planning your next hiking trip, we have a great selection of Gatlinburg cabins that are conveniently located near the park.
• Abrams Falls – A moderate five-mile hike to a wide, 20-foot-high fall. The trailhead can be found on the Cades Cove loop.
• Grotto Falls – A moderate three-mile hike to a 25-foot fall on Trillium Gap trail. The trail actually runs behind the fall, and the trailhead starts on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
• Hen Wallow Falls – A well-kept secret, this 4.4-mile, moderate hike takes you to a spectacular 90-foot-high cascade. The trailhead starts at the Cosby picnic area, near the Cosby campground in the park.
Once you book a stay in one of our cabins in Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley, you’ll want to take advantage of its proximity to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the best and handiest ways to do that is to take a tour of the historic Cades Cove area of the park. Once a thriving rural community, Cades Cove was preserved with the formation of the national park, and today it serves as a time portal of sorts, where visitors can see how some of the area’s early settlers lived in harmony with their surroundings.
The easiest way to get to the cove is to take U.S. 321 to Townsend and turn left at the traffic light. From there, follow Highway 73 to Laurel Creek Road and turn right. That will take you directly to the entrance of the one-way auto loop road, which winds its way around the cove in an 11-mile loop.
Along the way you’ll see towering mountains, rolling and level valleys filled with deer and wild turkey, historic homesteads and churches. At the Cable Mill Visitor Center, you’ll want to stop and tour several other period structures that have been rebuilt on the site as well as a bookstore.
The tour also features several scenic nature walks and hiking trails, the most notable of which is the Abrams Falls trail. The fairly easy trail is a five-mile round trip hike that includes a stop at the beautiful 20-foot-tall Abrams Falls.
Let mountain views flood through the windows of this two-bedroom, two-bath cabin near Pigeon Forge and Wears Valley. Capable of accommodating as many as eight adults, you’ll find the sleeping arrangements quite comfortable when you incorporate the king bed in each bedroom as well as a queen sleeper sofa and a futon.
Relaxation reigns supreme when you take advantage of such amenities as whirlpool tubs in each bathroom as well as an outdoor hot tub, a game room with pool table and a total of four satellite televisions and two DVD/VCR combos. In winter, you can warm up by the fireplace, and in summer, you can fire up the charcoal grill and enjoy steaks or burgers for dinner.
The kitchen comes with everything you need for indoor dining, including a dishwasher, microwave, range, coffee maker and refrigerator, and there’s a washer and dryer for keeping that vacation wardrobe fresh and clean. And if you’re an animal lover, you’re in luck. This pet-friendly unit welcomes your furry friends and has double decks to give them plenty of outdoor space. Once you’ve made Picture Perfect your vacation home, we think you’ll agree it’s one of the finest cabins in Wears Valley.