5 of the Best Waterfall Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the top spots in the southeast for waterfall chasing. Visitors fall in love with the beauty of Smoky Mountain waterfalls, and some of the most popular hiking trails include this feature. The best part is that many of the waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains are located near our hotel in Gatlinburg! To help you find the best waterfalls during your stay with us, we’ve made a list of the best waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains that are located within 30 minutes of our hotel.
1. Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is located on the Rainbow Falls Trail and is a 5.4-mile round trip moderate hike to the waterfall. This waterfall is 80 feet tall and is the highest single-drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains! The best time to view this waterfall is after long periods of rain. Sometimes you can see a “rainbow” produced from the mist of the falls on sunny afternoons! For those looking for more of a challenge, the Smokies third highest peak, Mount LeConte, can also be reached via the Rainbow Falls Trail.
2. Grotto Falls
Grotto Falls is one of the most popular Smoky Mountain waterfalls and can be found on the Trillium Gap Trail. It’s actually the only waterfall hike in the Smoky Mountains where the trail goes behind the 25-foot-tall waterfall. The hike to Grotto Falls is 2.6 miles round trip and is rated easy. However, the trail does have numerous roots and rocks, so proper footwear and hiking basics are recommended. The Trillium Gap Trail can also be used to access Mount LeConte. The trail is also known for being the path that the LeConte llamas use to deliver supplies during open season.
3. Baskins Creek Falls
Baskins Creek Trail on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail will take you to Baskin Creek Falls with a 3-mile round trip hike, rated easy. The waterfall is 40 feet high and is made up of two tiers. Though rated easy, the trail is not to be underestimated. Baskins Creek is a great spot to escape the crowd and is easily accessible from Gatlinburg.
4. Fern Branch Falls
The Porters Creek Trail will take you to Fern Branch Falls with a 4-mile round trip moderate hike. Porters Creek Trail is a popular wildflower trail in the springtime, however, it’s a perfect escape to solitude the rest of the year. Fern Branch Falls is a beautiful, 50-foot waterfall. You’ll find the Brushy Mountain Trail along the trail as well, a trail that can be connected to Trillium Gap or to Mount LeConte. The trail also includes a cabin, farmstead, cemetery, and campsite to explore.
5. Ramsey Cascades
Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the Smokies at 100 feet and is located along the Ramsey Cascades Trail. This particular hiking trail is considered to be one of the more strenuous trails in the area, but is well worth the 8-mile round trip climb to the top. The trail will take you by streams and cascades, as well as under some of the largest and oldest trees in the park.
If you want to stay near these Smoky Mountain waterfalls, be sure to stay with us at The Appy Lodge! As mentioned before, our Gatlinburg hotel is within 30 minutes of all of these beautiful waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains. Plus, our hotel was built in honor of the Appalachian Trail, one of American’s greatest hiking trails.
During your stay with us at The Appy Lodge, you won’t only be near many waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains, but you’ll also be surrounded by inspiring hiking history. Our hotel was built in honor of the Appalachian Trail, one of America’s greatest gems. Learn more about what makes our hotel great for hikers, then plan your trip!