3 Best Waterfall Hikes in the Smoky Mountains
Tucked away in the hills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park are countless miles of rolling rivers and streams. The park includes over 520,000 acres of land that are filled with stunning views, history, flora, fauna and much more. With more than 800 miles of hiking trails, the Smoky Mountains also offer the opportunity for many types of hikes. You can take a simple walk in the woods, climb to the highest of peaks or hike to a gorgeous waterfall. The waterfall hikes are some of our favorites so we wanted to share with you 3 of the best that you’ll find in the area. Choose a couple and then head our way for your next adventure getaway!
History, Beauty and Waterfalls
The Middle Prong Trail is tucked away in the Tremont section of the Smoky Mountains and is an excellent trail for seeing a waterfall and choosing your own hike! Before you even reach the trailhead you will drive by two roadside waterfalls and numerous cascades. The trail is an old railroad bed so it is wide and has a steady incline that is great for families and those in the beginning stages of their hiking journey. The short version of this hike is to take the trail up for 2 miles and then check out the 100 year old Cadillac that is off to the side via a small trail to your right. After seeing this piece of Smokies history that was left behind by the CCC, you can make your way back to the parking area to wrap up your hike for a total of 4 miles round trip. During your walk to the Cadillac, you’ll see an old splash dam that was used by the Little River Lumber Company and the upper and lower portions of Lynn Camp Falls. If you want to take a longer hike, then head up the 4 mile point where you can take a side trail to one of the most charming waterfalls in the Smokies, Indian Flat Falls. Regardless of if you spend even just a mile on the Middle Prong Trail, you can’t go wrong with adding it to your hiking trail checklist!
A Gatlinburg Gem
Gatlinburg is known for its never-ending shops, attractions, dining spots and mountain town fun but it’s also home to some gems of the mountains as well. In the Roaring Fork Motor Trail area of the park you’ll find the Rainbow Falls Trail. The hike up to Rainbow Falls is a moderate hike in difficulty and is not only filled with the natural beauty of the mountains, but also the incredible and stunning work of the Trails Forever Crew. The 80-foot waterfall is best viewed after a few days of good rain or during steady wet periods in the park but the hike is wonderful regardless of the flow. If you’re looking for a more challenging hike than the 5.4 mile round-trip version of this hike will give you then you may want to consider heading up to the summit of Mount LeConte. If you make the trek up to the third highest peak in the park, you can view a bonus waterfall by returning to Roaring Fork via the Trillium Gap Trail. Mix and match the trails and create your own hike!
A Smokies Classic
One of the most popular and most rewarding waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the trip up to the Ramsey Cascades. Unlike many of the waterfalls that have drops, this Smokies spot is wall of cascades that stands close to 100 feet high. The trail that takes you there is a challenging one but the climb is worth it and the payoff is unforgettable. You’ll find the Ramsey Cascades Trail in the Greenbrier area of the park, just outside of Gatlinburg. There are many visual treats on the hike, including some of the parks grandest old growth trees. Like all hikes in the park, make sure that you go prepared. Check the daily forecast, be aware of the time and pack in all needed items for a safe hike. The trek to the top is only 4 miles but both beginner and experienced hikers will tell you, it’s not an easy 4 miles. We can promise you one thing though, once you’re back to hotel and wrapping up the day with a hot shower, you’ll feel amazing and will be planning your next hike in the Smokies!
Are you ready for a hiking adventure in the Smoky Mountains? You’ll find everything you need for a home away from home experience at Our Hotel! You can kick off the day with our complimentary breakfast, refuel in the afternoon with fresh baked cookies and relax at night in our luxurious beds and cozy rooms!
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