Height of Falls: 100'
Round-Trip Hike: 8.0 mi.
Difficulty: Expert / Full-Day
The tallest (and possibly most spectacular) waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ramsey Cascades features waters that drop 100 feet over rock outcroppings. The water then collects in a small pool, where numerous well-camouflaged salamanders can be found.
The trip to reach Ramsey Cascades is not an easy one, however. The trail to the waterfall gains over 2,000 feet in elevation over its four-mile course. The eight-mile round-trip hike is considered strenuous in difficulty, as it follows rushing rivers and streams for much of its length. It's final two miles pass through old-growth hardwood forest featuring large tuliptrees, basswoods, silver bells, and yellow birches. It takes between five and seven hours to hike to the waterfall and back.
Ramsey Cascades Trail in the Green brier area serves as the access trail to the Ramsey Cascades waterfall. To reach the trail head, drive six miles east of Gatlinburg on Highway 321 and turn at the Green brier entrance to the park, then follow the signs 4.7 miles to the trail head.
(A special word of caution concerning Ramsey Cascades: Do not attempt to climb to the top of the falls. Several people have been killed trying to do so.)