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Waterfalls in the Smokies

Smoky Mountain Waterfall

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers gorgeous views of several pristine waterfalls.

Usually located right off a trail, the waterfalls are one of the main reasons people visit the park.

Some waterfalls you can drive up to, others you might have to walk, still others can be found in the backcountry miles from the nearest road.

The many mountain ridgelines dictate the spring's flow of cool mountain water; therefore most waterfalls and large streams are located within the valleys of the park.

Trail Difficulty is based on the terrain and length of the trail from trailhead to the waterfall.

The following are used to rate the terrain:

  • Easy - Beginner level trail with easy access to sites.
  • Moderate - Beginner level trail with uphill and downhill slopes less than 2.5 miles.
  • Average - Length of less than five miles, taking up half a day.  Trail may include uphill, downhill sloped terrain.
  • Expert - A trail that has many obstacles and requires a full day or more to hike it.
  • Strenuous - A very difficult trail, including climbing a mountain, crossing streams with no bridges, steep ledges, vertical climbs, and steep downhills.  Mostly multi-day trips.

The following are used to rate the trail time:

  • Hourly - A trail that can be done in two hours or less and up to 2 miles in length.
  • Half Day - A trail that will require some time as well as water with hiking of up to 5 miles.
  • Full Day - A trail that will take most of the day to hike with a length of 5 to 13 miles.
  • Multi Day - A trip that will take more than one day to complete with a length greater than 13 miles.

Below are some of the most popular falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Tip:  Falls Height / Round Trip Mileage

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Abrams Falls   20' / 5.0 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Parking lot North of Cades Cove Visitor Center
Trails to Take:  Abrams Falls Trail
Difficulty:  Average / Half Day
Description:  Read the Abrams Falls overview

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Grotto Falls   25' / 3.0 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Parking Lot off Cherokee Orchard Rd. (Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail)
Trails to Take:  Trillium Gap Trail
Difficulty:  Moderate / Hourly
Description:  Read the Grotto Falls overview

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Hen Wallow Falls   90' / 4.4 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Cosby Ranger Station and Campground
Trails to Take:  Gabes Mountain Trail
Difficulty:  Average / Half-Day
Description:  Read the Hen Wallow Falls overview

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Indian Creek Falls   25' / 1.6 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Deep Creek Campground
Trails to Take:  Juney Whank Falls Trail, Stone Pipe Gap Trail
Difficulty:  Easy / Hourly
Description:  Read the Indian Creek Falls overview

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Juney Whank Falls   90' / 0.8 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Deep Creek Campground
Trails to Take:  Juney Whank Falls Trail
Difficulty:  Easy / Hourly
Description:  Read the Juney Whank Falls overview

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Laurel Falls   80' / 2.6 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Parking lot at Fighting Creek Gap (near Elkmont) on Little River Road
Trails to Take:  Laurel Falls Trail (Paved)
Difficulty:  Easy / Hourly
Description:  Read the Laurel Falls overview

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Mingo Falls   120' / 0.8 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Cherokee Indian Reservation (Mingo Falls Campground)
Trails to Take:  Pigeon Creek Trail
Difficulty:  Average / Hourly
Description:  Read the Mingo Falls overview

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Mouse Creek Falls   45' / 4.0 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Big Creek Campground
Trails to Take:  Big Creek Trail
Difficulty:  Moderate / Half-Day
Description:  Read the Mouse Creek Falls overview

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Rainbow Falls   80' / 5.4 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Parking lot off Cherokee Orchard Rd. (Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail)
Trails to Take:  Rainbow Falls Trail
Difficulty:  Average / Half-Day
Description:  Read the Rainbow Falls overview

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Ramsey Cascades   100' / 8.0 mi.

Trailhead Access:  At Greenbrier Ranger Station take road up to a fork. Take the left road along Middle Prong. Trailhead is at the end of the road.
Trails to Take:  Ramsey Cascade Trails
Difficulty:  Expert / Full-Day
Description:  Read the Ramsey Cascades overview

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Place of a Thousand Drips   ~30' / 0.0 mi.

Trailhead Access:  At the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.
Trails to Take:  No trail, falls are near road.
Difficulty:  Drive-to falls
Description:  Read the Place of a Thousand Drips overview

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The Sinks (Meigs Falls)   < 20' / 0.0 mi.

Trailhead Access:  Right off Laurel Creek Road at the Meigs Creek Trailhead.
Trails to Take:  No trail, falls are near road.
Difficulty:  Drive-to falls
Description:  Read the The Sinks (Meigs Falls) overview

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