One of the best things about the location of our restaurant in Gatlinburg is that it’s so close to the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The area is full of interesting hiking trails, including breathtaking waterfalls, some of which are accessible all year long. Keep reading to discover the top 10 Smoky Mountain hikes with waterfalls:
1. Abrams Falls
This is a popular 5-mile hike located in Cades Cove which leads to an impressive 20-foot waterfall. While it may not be the highest fall in the park, it does have the largest volume of water rushing over, which definitely makes up for any lack of height.
2. Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls is another of the most popular Smoky Mountain hikes with waterfalls for several reasons. First, the hike itself is just over 2.5 miles roundtrip and is considered a moderate, family-friendly trail. Second, the falls are 80 feet tall with an upper and lower section divided by a walkway.
3. Rainbow Falls
You won’t regret the trip to Rainbow Falls! This waterfall hike in the Smokies is nearly 5.5 miles and is moderately difficult, so plan to spend several hours on this trail. After you reach the falls, you can also continue another 4 miles, where you will reach the summit of Mount LeConte!
4. Grotto Falls
The Trillium Gap Trail, located off of the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, leads you to Grotto Falls, a small 25-foot waterfall that is still quite spectacular. It’s also a good hike for viewing wildflowers in the spring and summer.
5. Cataract Falls
The hike to Cataract Falls is one of the easiest! You’ll begin at the trailhead located near Sugarlands Visitor Center and walk about .7 miles to the beautiful 40-foot waterfall. There are several other nature trails to explore in this area, so you can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying the great outdoors with your family.
6. Baskins Creek Falls
The Baskins Creek trailhead is located along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, and the 3-mile roundtrip hike to the falls is considered easy. It’s another 2-tier waterfall that’s about 40 feet tall. We think it’s one of the most underrated Smoky Mountain hikes with waterfalls!
7. Ramsey Cascades
Located in the Greenbrier area of the park, Ramsey Cascades is the tallest of all the Smoky Mountain waterfalls, at 100 feet. This hike is also the most strenuous, with a roundtrip length of 8 miles. The small pool at the bottom is a great place for spotting salamanders!
8. The Sinks
The Sinks are a short collection of mini waterfalls that can be seen off of Little River Road, about 12 miles past the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Since you can drive to this beautiful area, you can enjoy the accessibility and beauty of nature without a long, difficult hike.
9. Meigs Falls
Also located at The Sinks is the trailhead to Meigs Falls. There are several small waterfalls along the trail, and then you’ll come to the largest, called Upper Meigs Falls, which is about 18 feet tall and located a little less than 2 miles from the trailhead.
10. Place of a Thousand Drips
Technically, you don’t have to hike to Place of a Thousand Drips since you can see it from your vehicle! You can find this spectacular waterfall at stop #15 along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, easily accessible from Gatlinburg’s Historic Nature Trail.
Now you know some of the top Smoky Mountain hikes with waterfalls! Fuel up before your excursion into the national park by stopping at our downtown Gatlinburg restaurant for a hearty meal. Learn more about the Smith & Son Corner Kitchen menu. We hope to serve you and your family very soon!