Smoky Mountain Waterfalls

A waterfall in the Smokies. Photo by Marty Colburn.

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 smoky mountain 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 down-hills.  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.