As if gorgeous mountain views weren’t enough to get you out on the trails in the national park, there are also numerous Smoky Mountain waterfall hikes you’ll enjoy! You’ll definitely want to bring your phone or camera with you, because you’ll want to capture the breathtaking views along these trails, and of course, some photos in front of the falls! To help you plan for your trip, here are 4 of the best Smoky Mountain waterfall hikes you will love:
1. Laurel Falls Trail
The Laurel Falls Trail is an easy, 2.4-mile round trip hike that takes 2 to 3 hours to complete. It’s actually named after the mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub that blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. Once you reach this 80-foot waterfall, you’ll see it’s divided into an upper and a lower section. At the base of the top half, there’s a walkway that crosses over the stream. On the other side of the walkway, you can stand in front of the falls for some amazing photos!
2. Abrams Falls Trail
This scenic trail located in Cades Cove is nearly 5 miles in length and is rated as moderate in difficulty. Abrams Falls Trail passes through peaceful pine-oak and hemlock forests on the way to the falls. Although the waterfall itself is only 20 feet tall, the large volume of water more than makes up for its lack of height! There is also a picturesque pool at its base, but swimming in it is discouraged due to strong currents. You’ll definitely enjoy watching the river flow and water rush over the falls!
3. Rainbow Falls Trail
Another one of the best Smoky Mountain waterfall hikes is the Rainbow Falls Trail. True to its name, the mist from this 80-foot-tall waterfall produces a rainbow on sunny afternoons! The round trip to the falls and back is 5.5 miles and is considered moderate in difficulty. On your way to the falls from the trailhead, you’ll gain about 1,500 feet in elevation. If you’re looking for a challenge, you can even continue on for another 4 miles beyond the falls to the summit of Mount LeConte. However, if you’re just following the trail to the falls and back, the hike usually lasts anywhere from 3 to 5 hours.
4. Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls
For a unique-looking waterfall, you’ll want to hike the Gabes Mountain Trail to Hen Wallow Falls. This 4.3-mile-roundtrip trail is accessible year round and is considered moderate in difficulty. It typically takes about 3 to 4 hours to hike to the falls and back. As you move along the trail, you’ll pass through a hemlock and rhododendron forest. This waterfall itself is 2 feet wide at the top but fans out to 20 feet at the base. These cascading waters are 90 feet tall and make the perfect backdrop for any photo!
Where to Stay
You don’t have to drive crazy distances to get to these wonderful trails when you stay with us! Our cabins in Gatlinburg are conveniently located just a short drive from all the best hiking spots in the national park. When you’re not out and about exploring these trails, you and your family can sit back and relax in your own private cabin.
Be sure to check out all of our cabins in Gatlinburg, so you can find the perfect place to stay near all the best Smoky Mountain waterfall hikes!