[ Outdoor Adventures ]

10 of the Best Waterfall Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains

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

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Abrams Falls

1)Abrams Falls

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.

Rainbow Falls

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.

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Grotto Falls

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.

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Hen Wallows Falls

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

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Toms Branch Falls

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.

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Juney Whank 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.

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Laurel Falls

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.

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Mingo Falls

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.

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Mouse Creek Falls

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.

Waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains
Ramsey Cascades

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,