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10 Must-See Waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains

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Ever chased a waterfall? If you want to explore some of the most beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park waterfalls, this guide covers the top 10 falls that should not be missed.

From the family-friendly Cataract Falls to the challenging Ramsey Cascades, there is something for hikers of all levels.

10 Must-See Waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains That Even You Can Hike To

Read on to learn about cascading falls, refreshing swimming holes, and even a few spots to walk behind the tumbling water.

1. Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls with fall foliage background in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

In the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Abrams Falls is known for its voluminous water flow, especially after a rain.

The hike to Abrams Falls is a moderate 5-mile round trip, offering a mix of uphill and downhill walking through a picturesque forest.

The waterfall is about 20 feet high, but the large, deep pool at its base makes it a favorite spot for nature enthusiasts. Despite its beauty, swimmers should be cautious as the currents can be strong.

2. Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls in the Smoky Mountains

Unique for its behind-the-waterfall experience, Grotto Falls is accessible via the 3-mile round trip Trillium Gap Trail. This hike is relatively easy, winding through a lush, old-growth forest.

As you walk behind the waterfall, the sight and sound of the water cascading down is mesmerizing. It's a cool, refreshing stop on a warm day and a great spot for photo opportunities.

3. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls Smokey Mountains Gatlinburg, TN

Laurel Falls attracts visitors with its accessibility and scenic beauty. The trail to the waterfall is a paved 2.6-mile round trip, making it suitable for families and casual hikers.

The waterfall, divided into an upper and lower section with a walkway crossing in between, provides a stunning photo backdrop — like these beautiful national parks in our list: 9 Most Scenic U.S. National Parks for Stunning Photography

4. Rainbow Falls

Beautiful hike to Rainbow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Rainbow Falls trail offers a rewarding hike for those seeking a more challenging path. This 5.4-mile round trip journey, traversing rocky terrain, is considered moderately difficult.

The main attraction, a majestic 80-foot-high waterfall, is named for the rainbows that appear in its mist on sunny afternoons. It's a perfect blend of natural beauty and physical activity.

5. Hen Wallow Falls

Hen Wallow Falls Cosby Great Smoky Mountains Tennessee North Carolina

Hen Wallow Falls is reached via a 4.4-mile round-trip hike. The trail narrows as it winds through rhododendrons and hemlock forests, leading to a 90-foot-high, narrow waterfall.

This less crowded spot is ideal for those looking to escape the more popular areas and enjoy a peaceful connection with nature.

6. Mouse Creek Falls

Mouse Creek Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, spring, Tennessee, USA

Mouse Creek Falls is an ideal destination for families and casual hikers. The 4-mile round trip along the scenic Big Creek Trail is relatively easy, characterized by a well-maintained trail that runs alongside the creek.

The waterfall is a beautiful 45-foot cascade, creating a serene and picturesque setting. It's a great spot for a peaceful break, surrounded by the natural beauty of the forest.

7. Indian Creek and Toms Branch Falls

Indian Creek Falls in Smoky Mountains National Park, North Carolina

Indian Creek and Toms Branch Falls is an easy and enjoyable 1.6-mile round-trip hike in the Deep Creek area. It's particularly appealing for those who want to see multiple waterfalls without a strenuous hike.

Indian Creek and Toms Branch Falls are charming and picturesque, with tranquil spots where you can relax and enjoy the soothing sounds of flowing water. The accessibility of these falls makes them a family-favorite.

8. Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades Waterfall in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park, Tennessee.

Ramsey Cascades offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for the more adventurous hikers. It's the longest hike on this list, at 8 miles round trip, and is considered strenuous.

However, the effort pays off spectacularly with the view of the park's tallest waterfall at 100 feet. The hike takes you through old-growth forests and rushing rivers and streams, culminating in the breathtaking sight of Ramsey Cascades.

It's a must-visit for serious hikers seeking awe-inspiring natural beauty. And if you're up for more hikes, save these Yellowstone trails in your bucket list: 8 Incredible Day Hikes in Yellowstone That You Can’t Miss

9. Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park Tennessee

Cataract Falls is a half-mile round trip, perfect for those seeking a short and easy hike. Located conveniently behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center, it's an ideal spot for families with young children or those with limited time.

The waterfall is small yet charming, set in a peaceful woodland setting. It's a great introduction to the beauty of the Smokies for first-time visitors.

10. Juney Whank Falls

Juney Whank Falls in the Deep Creek Area near Bryson CIty, North Carolina in the Fall

Juney Whank Falls is split into upper and lower sections, each offering its own distinct beauty. This brief but steep 0.8-mile round trip hike in the Deep Creek area leads to a unique and picturesque waterfall.

The hike may be short, but it can be strenuous due to the steep incline. However, the reward is a stunning view of the waterfall, which is especially beautiful after rainfall.

Find Your Waterfall Bliss in the Great Smokies

The waterfalls of the Great Smokies have something special for everyone. As you explore these cascading gems, relax and soak in their natural beauty.

Plan your trip at the right time to maximize views and safety. Many falls flow strongest after rainfall. Avoid dangerous currents by exercising caution around swimming holes.

And most importantly, always check park and weather updates for closures and warnings before your trip. Nature's unpredictable, so it's better to be safe! ️

 
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