The Best Waterfalls in Gatlinburg

rainbow falls gatlinburg, tn things to do gatlinburg

Visit Rainbow Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

People all over America love waterfalls. The fascination that comes with the rushing water never ceases to delight visitors. Gatlinburg is home to some of the most beloved waterfalls in this country. While waterfalls make the perfect setting for lovers, anyone who prizes a pristine view of nature will enjoy a trip to these top three Gatlinburg waterfalls.

Grotto Falls

This month is a great month to visit Grotto Falls to see the wildflowers. The unique feature of this falls is the ability to walk behind it. In this area see old growth hemlock forests. Be careful for slippery rocks in the falls vicinity. The hike in takes about 2-3 hours and can be accessed from the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. You’ll cross several small streams and walk uphill a good part of the way. Your reward will be the grand sight of the falls that offers many photo taking opportunities.

This makes a fun hike for families and picnickers. The trail can be a bit muddy with roots and rocks so be sure to wear appropriate hiking shoes. Watch for salamanders on the trail and even a bear or two in the trees! Getting here early in the day is advised so you can find parking before you trek up to the falls.

Abrams Falls

The beauty of these falls hides danger…the deep pools surrounding the falls harbor strong currents so swimming here is prohibited. The round trip hike to the falls is 5 miles and of moderate difficulty. Begin your hike at the Abrams Falls Trail in Cades Cove. You’ll travel over diverse territory, uphill and downhill and encounter many rocks and tree roots along the way. Parents report that strollers don’t make it on this trail and some people feel it may be too challenging for younger children.

While these falls are not very high (about 20 feet) the immense volume of water that rushes over them is the main attraction. People hiking here report that the roaring sound of the water and the sight of the cascading falls is one of the most beautiful sights in the Gatlinburg area.

Many visitors agree that while the hike may be a bit arduous the sight of the falls makes it worth the effort. Bring some water and food and wear hiking boots to protect your feet.

Laurel Falls

Those who like a paved trail will enjoy the route to Laurel Falls. One of only 4 paved trails in the park, the way rewards hikers with the sight of a fantastic 80 foot high falls. While the pavement is easier to travel over than some other trails it can be uneven and rough and might pose some issues for strollers and wheelchairs. Pets and bicycles are prohibited and it’s advised that you bring water with you. The 2.6 mile hike to and from the falls is not difficult, coming in at around two hours for most hikers. If you want to go for a longer hike there are a few nearby trails as well. Families say that kids 6 and up most often enjoy this trip.

Go early in the morning and enjoy the area as it can get a bit crowded later in the day. Watch for bears and don’t litter or leave food around where it can tempt bears. Bears are wild animals and you should discourage them from approaching you. Children should be supervised at all times. Some parents report that carrying smaller kids in backpack carriers may be preferable than using a stroller.

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Tell us about your waterfall hike adventures! Share your experiences with us in the comments, on Facebook, on Twitter @travelgburg, or on Google +!

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