3 Top Waterfall Hikes in the Smoky Mountains You Have to Try
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the top waterfall chasing destinations in Tennessee and we wanted to help you out with finding 3 of the waterfall hikes that you have to try the next time you’re staying with us in Gatlinburg. We also wanted to add a few bonus waterfalls at the end of this blog entry to help those of you that are not able to hike also enjoy a few of the waterfalls of the Smokies as well!
The hike to Abrams Falls is one of the most popular trails in the park and it’s easy to understand why it is so loved once you have a bit of the trail under your feet! The waterfall is located 2.5 miles from the center of the Cades Cove and is a 5 mile round-trip hike. The park lists the trail as moderate in difficulty, however your experience will depend on your personal fitness level and weather conditions. Stopping by the Sugarlands Visitors Center is always a great first stop when visiting the national park and the rangers are more than happy to help you learn more about what to expect on the trail as well as provide you with a trail map for a $1 donation. The trail follows Abrams Creek and is actually named after the Cherokee Chief Abram that once had a village located downstream. It’s common on the hike to see anglers enjoying the creek or even a great blue heron on the lookout for his early morning snack. The waterfall is tucked away in a beautiful corner and has a drop that has been measured at 25 feet. The hike is an excellent way to explore on foot and experience the heart of the Smokies, also known as Cades Cove.
Indian Flats Falls
Indian Flats Falls is the hike that you’ll want to try if you want to see a little bit of everything! The waterfall is located on the Middle Prong Trail in the Tremont section of the Smoky Mountains. To reach the waterfall you’ll have to hike 4 miles in on the trail, but you’ll pass by numerous cascades as well as upper and lower Lynn Camp Prong Falls on your way. The hike also offers up the opportunity to view a 100 year old Cadillac that is just off the main trail. The Cadillac was left behind by the Civilian Conservation Corps during their time in the park. The CCC built many trails and bridges that we use even today. This hike is enjoyable even to those that just want to make the 2 mile trek up to the old car, but is also excellent for those wanting to put in more miles during their outing in the park. Regardless of if you want to do a 4 mile round-trip day or an 8 mile, the Middle Prong Trail is a great trail for everyone from families to trail runners.
The paved trail to Laurel Falls ia very popular destination in the park and parking is often limited. However, you’ll be able to view the Smokies most visited waterfall and its drop of 80 feet within just over a mile and with a 2.5 mile distance for a round-trip. If you’re visiting the park for the first time or you’re not ready to explore other trails yet, the hike to Laurel Falls is an excellent choice. It’s also a hike that can be extended much further than the paved trail, a trail map and details to longer hike options can be found in the Hiking Trails of the Smokies book and on the official trail map that we have in our gift shop.
At The Appy, we understand that not everyone can hike to a waterfall and so we did not want to leave anyone out on enjoying the beauty of the Smoky Mountains. That’s why we wanted to mention 3 of the waterfalls in the park that you can view from the road. Meigs Falls is located on Little River Road and is tucked away but is very easily viewed from the designated pull-off. The area known as The Sinks has a parking lot and does require just a short walk on the sidewalk for views. The waterfall almost always has a very impressive volume of water going over it. If you’re lucky, you may spot kayakers enjoying the flow or even a few otters! The Place of a Thousand Drips is an absolutely stunning waterfall after a few days of rain and it’s located directly beside the road at the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Trail just outside of downtown Gatlinburg.
Are you planning a trip to the Smokies soon or did any of the above spark some wanderlust in you? The Smoky Mountains are perfect for those wanting to get outside and play, photograph the beauty of the national park or just escape the chaos of everyday life.
We would love for you to join us at our Gatlinburg hotel and allow us to be a part of your vacation in the Smokies! If you’re from the area, we’d love to be your staycation spot as well! Take a moment to view Our Amenities and Our Guest Rooms. If you have been our guest before or you already know that you want to stay with us, you can view our rooms, rates and available dates and receive extra perks by booking direct with us by clicking this link! → The Appy Lodge
We hope to see you soon!