rainbow falls in the smoky mountains

Top 5 Waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains You’ll Want to See

Some of the most beautiful natural sights you’ll want to see in the Smoky Mountains are the waterfalls! There are a wide range of hiking trails to get to each of the waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains, so no matter if you’ve never hiked before or you hike all the time, there’s a waterfall for you! Check out these top 5 waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains you’ll want to see:

1. Cataract Falls

cataract falls in the smoky mountainsIf you are just starting out and want a simple hiking trail, you should go see Cataract Falls. The roundtrip length is 1.1 miles, and the path is clearly laid out and relatively flat. This is the perfect hike for small kids and older adults who can’t hike longer trails. This trail is also used for bird watching, and it follows long a creek for a beautiful view while you hike. At the end, you’ll come up on the falls, which trickles over multiple rocks and tiers.

2. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains. The trail is simple, with a roundtrip length of 2.3 miles. The path is paved, preventing people from tripping over roots. While this trail is popular, the path can be very thin at times and you should be careful when you hike since there are steep drop offs. Once you reach the top, you’ll see the 80-foot, two-tiered waterfall come into view. It’s a huge, beautiful sight to behold. Don’t forget to take pictures in front of the falls on the footbridge!

3. Abrams Falls

If you’re planning on visiting Cades Cove, you should stop and hike to Abrams Falls. The length of the hike is 5 miles roundtrip, making it more moderate. On your way to this waterfall in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll come across old forest growth and possibly even wildlife, since Cades Cove is an area known for its abundance in wildlife. As you walk past the creek, you’ll probably see all kinds of fish and salamanders. While Abrams Falls isn’t one of the biggest or tallest waterfalls in the Smokies, the amount of water that rushes over the 20 foot tall waterfall is impressive, especially after it rains.

4. Rainbow Falls

One of the tallest waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains is Rainbow Falls. It stands at 80 feet tall and has a single drop design. To get to the falls, you’ll take the Rainbow Falls trailhead as if you’re hiking to Mount LeConte, and the waterfall is about 2.7 miles in. This waterfall gets its name from the rainbow you’ll see in the mist during the afternoon light.

5. Ramsey Cascades

ramsey cascades in the smoky mountainsRamsey Cascades is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains for many reasons. The falls stand at 100 feet tall, and water rushes over multiple tiers of rocks into a large pool of water. It is also one of the harder hikes with a roundtrip length of 8.1 miles. The entire route to the waterfall is up hill. However, the hike is definitely worth it when you see Ramsey Cascades in person.

You have many options when it comes to seeing waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains. Looking for more information about the national park and surrounding areas? Check out our area information to find out what you want to know!