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Waterfall Hikes In the Smokies

Smoky Mountain Waterfalls

Spring keeps on getting better and better in the Smokies. More and more of the thoroughly abundant life and lush, thriving ecosystem comes alive with each passing hour – radiant emerald greens and soft, excruciately adorable pastel-colored plants reveal themselves to the world at large and our flashing cameras while the temperatures reach highly mobile and comfortable 70-80 weather days on most occasions.

What is the best thing to do in the Smokies when we reach the prime of the season between April and May? Why, the Smokies themselves, naturally. There are dozens of hiking trails in the Smokies and many aren’t sure what to start with or look for, but we recommend going to visit the trails with the famous Smoky Mountain waterfalls as part of their courses. The waterfalls are simultaneously some of the most plentiful, most powerful, most awe-inspiring and photogenic things you’ll find in the Smokies: to look at these gushing water spouts, to hear loud crashing waves that drown everything else out, to know that this has been here and moved googolplexes of water for aeons and aeons, just fills one with a sense of connection to the mountains that are difficult to describe, even if we assume that description would come from and go to someone who’s been to see them!

In this article, we’ll list off some hiking trails that have waterfalls on them as well as pertinent information on them from NPS.gov:

Abrams Falls

“Although Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height. The long, deep pool at its base is very picturesque. The waterfall and creek are named for a Cherokee chief whose village once stood several miles downstream. The trail to the falls traverses pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek. The hike is 5 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty.”

Full Information:  CLICK HERE


Grotto Falls

“Trillium Gap Trail meanders through an old-growth hemlock forest and actually runs behind the 25 foot high waterfall. The cool, moist environment near the falls is ideal for salamanders and summer hikers. The hike is 3 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty. The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles and the hike is generally considered moderate in difficulty. It takes about 2-3 hours to hike to the waterfall and back.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE 


Hen Wallow Falls

The trip to Hen Wallow Falls is a pleasant walk through hemlock and rhododendron forest. A signed side trail leads to the base of the falls by way of steep switchbacks. 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. If you look carefully in the water at the base of the falls, you can often find salamanders. During very cold winter weather, the waterfall can freeze into a beautiful icy column. The hike to the falls is 4.4 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty. Hikers continuing on the Gabes Mountain Trail beyond the falls can enjoy an impressive old-growth forest.

Full Information: CLICK HERE 


Indian Creek and Toms Branch Falls

“An easy 1.6 mile roundtrip hike will allow you to enjoy two beautiful waterfalls in the Deep Creek area. Walk Deep Creek Trail 0.7 mile to the junction with Indian Creek Trail. On your way you can view the elegant, 60′ high Tom Branch Falls located on the far side of Deep Creek. Turn right at the junction with Indian Creek Trail and proceed approximately 200′ to Indian Creek Falls. The falls are 25 feet in height. The roundtrip distance to the waterfalls is 1.6 miles and the hike is generally considered easy. It takes about 1-2 hours to hike to the waterfalls and back.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


Juney Whank Falls

“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. The trail to the waterfall is 0.8 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate in difficulty. The stream and falls are said to be named after a Mr. Junaluska “Juney” Whank, who may be buried in the area.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


 Laurel Falls

“Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. The waterfall consists of an upper and a lower section, divided by a walkway which crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited. The area is especially busy on weekends year-round and on weekdays during summer. The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles and the hike is considered moderate in difficulty. It takes about 2 hours to hike to the waterfall and back.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


Lynn Camp Prong Cascades

“Lynn Camp Prong rushes and tumbles over numerous cascades as it flows down the mountain beside the Middle Prong Trail. The trail follows the route of an old logging railroad, so it offers easy walking on a wide, relatively level path. Wildflowers bloom along the trail from spring through summer. The roundtrip distance to the cascades is 1.3 miles and the hike is generally considered to be easy in difficulty. It takes about an hour to hike to the waterfall and back at a leisurely pace.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


Mingo Falls

“Mingo Falls is on the Cherokee Indian Reservation (Qualla Boundary), just outside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. No special permits are required for access to the reservation. At 120 feet tall, the waterfall is one of the tallest and most spectacular in the southern Appalachians. The hike to the waterfall is only 0.4 miles in length, but is considered moderate in difficulty.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


Mouse Creek Falls

“Big Creek Trail follows an old railroad grade used to haul lumber out of the mountains during the logging boom at the start of the 20th century. At 1.4 miles the trail passes Midnight Hole, a deep, picturesque pool below a 6′ falls. At 2.1 miles a short side trail on the left leads to a bench where hikers can rest and view Mouse Creek Falls which is on the far side of Big Creek. The falls are 45′ in height.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


Rainbow Falls

“A rainbow produced by mist from this 80-foot high waterfall is visible on sunny afternoons. During extended winter cold spells, an impressive ice formation builds around the falls. Between trailhead and falls, Rainbow Falls Trail gains about 1,500′ in elevation. The 5.4 mile roundtrip hike is considered moderate in difficulty. The Rainbow Falls Trail continues for approximately 4 miles beyond the falls to the summit of Mount Le Conte.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


Ramsey Cascades

“Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park and one of the most spectacular. Water drops 100 feet over rock outcroppings and collects in a small pool where numerous well-camouflaged salamanders can be found. The trail to the waterfall gains over 2,000′ in elevation over its 4 mile course and the 8-mile roundtrip hike is considered strenuous in difficulty. It follows rushing rivers and streams for much of its length. The last 2 miles pass through old-growth cove hardwood forest with large tuliptrees, basswoods, silverbells, and yellow birches.”

Full Information: CLICK HERE


And, of course, you can find all the information you need on other avenues of the Smoky Mountain National Park