The great outdoors are right outside your door when you visit Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Hiking is a favorite thing to do here, and some of the most popular hikes are those to waterfalls. Over 200,000 visitors each year hike well-worn trails to falls at locations throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Browse our quick guide of waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains to learn more.
Waterfall Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains: Where to Go
Access trail: Abrams Falls Trail in Cades Cove
Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, but it boasts a large volume of water and a wide cascade that more than makes up for its lack of height.
2) Rainbow Falls
Access Trail: Rainbow Falls Trail in the Roaring Fork area
If you’re lucky you’ll see a rainbow produced by mist from this 80-foot high waterfall on sunny afternoons. Secluded and lush, the Rainbow Falls is the highest single-drop waterfall in the Smokies.
2) Grotto Falls
Access trail: Trillium Gap Trail on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Hiking to Grotto Falls is a unique experience as it’s the only waterfall in the Smokies you can stand behind. Tumbling 25-feet, the falls are an enjoyable place to visit not only for the views but for the exploration available.
3) Hen Wallow Falls
Access Trail: Gabes Mountain
Hen Wallow Creek, only two feet wide at the top of the falls, fans out to 20 feet at the base. The waterfall is 90 feet high, ranking it among the tallest in the National Park.5
4) Indian Creek and Toms Branch Falls
Access trail: Deep Creek Trail
On this hike you get the benefit of seeing two Smoky Mountain Waterfalls. The first is the 80 feet high Toms Branch Falls. The park service has installed benches so you can sit and admire the falls. Then, about a ½ mile farther you’ll find the 45-foot high Indian Creek Falls.
5) Juney Whank Falls
Access Trail: Juney Whank Falls Trail
Juney Whank Falls is divided into an upper and lower section. Both can be viewed from the footbridge which crosses Juney Whank Branch at the falls. Together they drop 90 feet from top to bottom.
6) Laurel Falls
Access trail: Laurel Falls Trail
Laurel Falls is an 80 foot high waterfall consisting of an upper and a lower section, divided by a walkway which crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. It’s a picturesque setting that boasts a paved path making it easy for families to trek. As a result, it’s one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains.
7) Mingo Falls
Access Trail: Pigeon Creek Trail
At 120 feet tall, the waterfall is one of the tallest and most spectacular in the southern Appalachians. The trail to the base of the falls is very steep, but well worth the effort.
8) Mouse Creek Falls
Access Trail: Big Creek Trail
Mouse Creek Falls is a 45 foot high waterfall that tumbles over moss covered rocks. It’s a natural, scenic sight and a bench is even available for you to sit down and admire its beauty.
10) Ramsey Cascades
Access Trail: Ramsey Cascades Trail in the Greenbrier area
Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park and one of the most spectacular. Water cascades 100 feet over rock outcroppings, collecting in a small pool. The somewhat strenuous four mile hike follows the river most of its length.
Let’s Go Explore
With spring upon us, now is the perfect time to go explore the great outdoors! The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a vast area but with this list you’re sure to see one of the best waterfalls in the park.
Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Gatlinburg to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.