There are dozens of waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You may have a hard time deciding which ones you want to see if you plan on exploring the hiking trails. We want to share some of the top waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains you should see. With varying heights and amounts of water, you’ll be impressed no matter which ones you see! Here are the top 5 waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains you’ll want to see:
1. Laurel Falls
Laurel Falls is probably the easiest waterfall to get to. The hiking trail is paved, so you don’t have to worry about rocks and roots. The roundtrip length is 2.6 miles. There are parts of the trail that have steep drop offs, so be careful as you climb up and descend on the trail. This is one of the most popular waterfalls, so you’ll probably find a lot of people on the trail. The best time to go is early in the morning. Laurel Falls is an 80-foot-tall waterfall with two tiers. The upper section is separated from the lower portion with a footbridge you can walk across.
2. Grotto Falls
Grotto Falls is one of the more unique waterfalls in the national park. The trail to get to the falls is 3 miles roundtrip, with rocks and roots along the trail. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to get to the waterfall. The trail is considered moderate, and you will make your way along the creek most of the trail. The waterfall is 25 feet tall. It is one of the only waterfalls in the Smokies you can actually walk behind. Climbing on rocks is not recommended because of the mist and algae making them slippery.
3. Abrams Falls
Abrams Falls is another impressive waterfall in the Smoky Mountains you should check out. The trail is located along the Cades Cove Loop. The trail is 5 miles roundtrip and considered moderate. You’ll walk through old forest growth, and if you’re hiking in the spring, you’ll find all kinds of wildflowers along the way. This is a great trail for families. Once you reach the waterfall, you’ll be amazed by the amount of water gushing over the 25 foot waterfall.
4. Rainbow Falls
Rainbow Falls is also unique. It is the tallest single drop waterfall in the Smokies, standing at 80 feet. The trail to get to Rainbow Falls is considered moderate with a roundtrip length of 5.4 miles. If you’re hiking in the winter, you might see an impressive collection of ice around the waterfall. You can see where the name comes from if you reach the falls in the early afternoon. The mist combined with the sunlight creates a rainbow effect.
5. Ramsey Cascades
If you’re an avid hiker and want to see one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains, you should hike to Ramsey Cascades. The roundtrip length to the waterfall is 8 miles and is considered difficult. Once you reach the falls, you’ll see why the long trail is worth it. This is the largest waterfall at 100 feet, and there are multiple tiers where water falls over rocks.
Hiking to any of these waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains would be fun. Since you have an idea of what you will do when you visit the national park, you need some ideas for when you’re in Pigeon Forge. Check out these attractions in Pigeon Forge for some ideas!