Height of Falls: 80'
Round-Trip Hike: 5.4 mi.
Difficulty: Average / Half-Day
Rainbow Falls is true to its name because of the rainbow produced by mist from this 80-foot high waterfall on sunny days. During extended wintry weather, a unique ice formation builds around the falls.
Between the trailhead and the falls, Rainbow Falls Trail gains approximately 1,500 feet in elevation, earning the 5.4-mile round-trip hike a moderate to difficult rating. The trail actually continues approximately four miles beyond the falls to the summit of Mount Le Conte. To hike to the waterfall and back generally takes between three and five hours.
The access trail leading to the falls is the Rainbow Falls Trail in the Roaring Fork area. To reach the trailhead from the parkway in Gatlinburg, turn at traffic light #8 and follow Historic Nature Trail into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Then continue past the Noah "Bud" Ogle homesite to the signed Rainbow Falls parking area.