The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is blessed with a number of beautiful features, from its amazing panoramas to its rare wildflowers. The many waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains are one of the most popular ways to enjoy the great outdoors and many are accessible for even novice or young hikers. From tall waterfalls to thundering cascades, the park has plenty of falls, so here are five of our favorites to get you started. At the end of the day, why not come home to one of our luxurious yet affordable cabins in Gatlinburg?
Easy-to-Reach Waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains
An easy but beautiful waterfall to which to walk is Grotto Falls, the only cascade in the park that you can walk behind. The trail is only 2.6 miles with very little elevation gain, making this a possibility for those who just want to stretch their legs or are bringing children. Most of the trail is through an old-growth forest, which in the spring is covered with trillium and other wildflowers. For more experienced hikers, the trail carries on to Brushy Mountain and Mt. Leconte.
Another fairly short hike is along Big Creek Trail to Mouse Creek Falls. Set on an old logging grade left over from the park’s days as a major logging center, this 4.2-mile hike is a great choice for younger walkers ready for a bit more of a challenge. Beautiful Big Creek is covered with trees for a serene setting. Along the way, you will see several smaller cascades and the striking emerald green Midnight Hole.
Impressive Smoky Mountain Waterfalls Are Best in Spring
One of the most popular waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains is Abrams Falls, which makes for a great day out when combined with the Cades Cove Loop, from where you will begin. These cascades are particularly impressive for the volume of water, which in spring is at its absolute peak. At 5.2 miles, this is another moderate hike, with varied terrain as it goes up and down small ridges near Abrams Creek.
Smoky Mountain Waterfalls Are Great for Serious Hikers
For those hikers in need of a serious challenge, the eight-mile hike to Ramsey Cascades goes through the largest section of old-growth forest in the park. You will walk by three of the tallest trees in the Smokies and cross a long, narrow footbridge with smaller cascades nearby. Unlike free-falling Rainbow Falls, Ramsey Cascades are even taller, but drop over multiple tiers for a beautiful sight. The various pools created are home to several species of endemic salamanders.
Especially when walking with children, make sure to be carefully on the slippery rocks near any of these waterfalls. All of them have excellent viewpoints, so there is no need to climb on the dangerous rocks around the waterfalls. Choose one of our cabins in Pigeon Forge and hit the hot tub or fireplace after a walk!