Plan your next summer adventure around one of these beautiful classic waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!Less
Hen Wallow Falls is a stunning 90' waterfall that spreads from a mere 2' at its highest, to 20' at its base. It's a great hike year-round and moderate to difficult at most. The NPS notes that the walk is 4.4 miles round trip and takes most people between 3 and 4 hours.
Of all the waterfall hikes within the Smokies, Cataract Falls may be one of the best options for the entire family. Though just 15 minutes from the trailhead, it includes an array of beautiful and interesting trees, and the 25' waterfall is particularly serene for being so close to the parking lot.
Located near Gatlinburg, Grotto Falls is a 2.6-mile round trip hike to a stunning 25' waterfall that you can walk behind! According to the NPS, "the cool, moist environment near the falls is ideal for salamanders," and it makes an excellent summer hike for the entire family!
Laurel Falls is a tiered cascade of about 80 feet in height, dropping in multiple columns over glistening rocks, and surrounded by the lush greenery of mountain laurel. The laurel is what the waterfall is named for, and you'll see lots of this thick-leaved shrub plus its cousin, rhododendron, all along the trail. They bloom in early summer with white and purple blossoms.
Abrams Falls is a high-volume waterfall about 20 feet high that drops into a large pool with great swimming spots and a wide beach of river stones. It’s extremely popular during warm months for the swimming, but scenic at any time of year. The hike begins from Cades Cove Loop, so getting to the trailhead can be a headache on busy days because of traffic on the one-way road. Come with a mindset to take it slow and enjoy the views; they are sublime.
Boasting the title of "Highest Single-Drop Waterfall in the Smokies," this hike to Rainbow Falls should top your bucket list during your next visit. Toppling over an 80' ledge, the mist from the waterfall produces a stunning rainbow visible on most sunny afternoons. Should you plan your visit during the winter, you'll be welcomed with an "impressive ice formation [built] around the falls," the NPS proclaims.