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.