Rainbow Falls Trail

HARD 180 reviews

Rainbow Falls Trail is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, TN that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

5.5 miles 1653 feet Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

Went on the first day of fall after particularly dry summer. Very little water at the falls. Great hike otherwise. Rates as difficult and I think that's a fair assessment as first 2.7 miles are all uphill. (1500 ft of elevation gain). I would do this again in wetter weather I'll bet the falls are very impressive when running at capacity.

hiking
3 days ago

Was a harder trail than we thought. Great steep terrain with some decent scenery. The fall was a little less than we expected, but it hasn't rained in awhile.

6 days ago

16 days ago

Beautiful hike, so much to see on your way up with the old growth trees but the trail is so rocky you can't look up! So peaceful when you get deeper into the hike, perfectly quiet. The falls weren't as spectacular because of the lack of rain this year but still beautiful and sit by and have a quick lunch. My husband and I walked about a milk past the falls just to see some more views but the trail got more difficult the further we traveled and we were pretty wiped out by then so we turned back.

hiking
16 days ago

Awesome trail experience. I very much enjoyed this hike. Pretty relentless climb of 2.5hrs up to the falls. The actual waterfall is definitely a sight to see and worth the effort. We did see a couple of turkeys looking for acorns on the way back down....lots of seeds and nuts for forage. This is a forest hike, so not much to see along the way.

hiking
16 days ago

Very nice trail and a reasonable degree of difficulty. The waterfall was a delight but there wasn't a ton to see once you left the river on the way up to the waterfall. We saw squirrels and wild turkey.

19 days ago

It was alright. Nothing really stood out to me. It was a fun hike but I probably wouldn't do it again

hiking
23 days ago

Really fun trail, definitely not easy. a lot of rocks and trees in the walkway but it's hiking so that's part of the fun. Some pretty good views during the hike but the waterfall at the end was well worth it. Tons of people there but we went at mid day so that's expected. Overall definitely recommend this trail

hiking
26 days ago

My wife and I hiked up this morning (9/1) in 2 hours, ate a snack and back down in 1.5 hours. Very few fellow hikers, with a couple of them reporting bear siting(s) near the .5 mile. Got caught in some rain on the downward trek, but not bad. Parking wasn't crazy like usual.

hiking
28 days ago

Great hike, fairly strenuous. Nice fees on the way up besides the waterfall at the end! It's definitely worth the uphill climb!

29 days ago

Nice trail. Saw a rattler along side of the trail but I was more afraid of the idiot with the GoPro on his head trying to get an up close picture of it. Falls are beautiful, tough to do with kids but we took a break at the falls (ages were 10, 8, and 6).

hiking
29 days ago

*Facilities in the parking lot of the trail head*

Took Rainbow Falls trail, all the way up to Mt. LeConte, and traveled back down Bullhead trail to make a round trip of 13 to 14 miles/ 5 hours up-4 hours down (including the small jaunt on Sugarlands trail back to our cars).
Total miles up to LeConte summit is 6.6 miles one way. We took our time, and captured lots of photos...took us 5 hours in one direction...but for those who want to hike faster, it will obviously not take that long. According to Hiking Trails Of The Smokies book, it's 2.7 miles, one way, to just the falls.
This trail is challenging, but so totally worth it. Not much in the way of "mountain views" from the trail, but that shouldn't deter you from hiking all the way to the top. Lots of boulders, rock formations, beautiful foliage and fungus to keep you visually stimulated.
It's long, steep, rocky, tree rooted and challenging....so just be sure to keep that in mind.....but totally worth it to get all the way to the LeConte summit.
There was not a lot of water coming off the falls....we've not had much rain, this summer, so there along with the falls being not as "showy" as usual, many rock hop creek areas were just walking across the rocks, without having to worry about getting your feet wet.
Despite the falls not having a ton of water.....the giant boulder field is a must see! There is the normal "stay on the trail" warning sigh, instructing folks to stay off the rocks...but just be smart about your footing, and be cautious when climbing up to get a closer look.

1 month ago

The rough hike was well worth it for the end result!!

hiking
1 month ago

Crowded trail in late August. We had to park far from the trailhead. Some water and good shoes recommended. Lots of rocks on the trail. We took our time going up, hung out at the falls for a while and ate lunch, super easy going down. Round trip took us 4 hours. Small waterfall about 0.5 mile to the falls, nice refresh point. Definitely worth the hike for the waterfall.

hiking
1 month ago

The route shown on the map ends at Rainbow Falls, but the trail continues on from there if you want all the way up to near the top of LeConte. There is connects with the Bullhead trail not too far from the LeConte Lodge, the Alum Cave Trail, Cliff Top, the LeConte shelter, and the top of Mt. LeConte is also within strking distance. This is definitely a challenging trail but an excellent hike.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Tough trail, but definitely a beautiful one. Be ready for a workout if you want to reach the falls! ✌

hiking
1 month ago

Second year in a row hiking Rainbow Falls. This hike is worth the uphill climb. The trail is fairly covered with large rocks, so carefully consider what shoes to wear. The falls this year were not as wide & thunderous as it was in 2015, however lack of rain this season is a factor. Still, you can't beat the beautiful green scenery around you as you hike. Do It.

1 month ago

Awesome trail, fairly strenuous. I recommend bring plenty of water and at least a snack or two.

hiking
2 months ago