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Pretty easy hike. Slippery when wet and it was extremely windy and foggy, so my view was nothing. I’m sure it’s a five star view, but I didn’t get to witness it.

This was an incredible hike!! With the new (super nice) parking area, this trail is now over 8 miles. All the water crossing were high, We made it to Shanty Springs in knee deep snow and had to turn around due to trail conditions. Super slippery at the top. Can’t wait to go back when the snow has melted and finish up the last .4 miles!

The road to the trailhead was closed when we attempted on 12/15/18.
I believe you can get to this trail by starting on the Rainbow Falls trailhead and branching off to the left for the Grotto Falls trail, but it’ll tack on another couple miles to your hike.
We ended up taking the Rainbow Falls trail instead since it was the same distance.

hiking
2 days ago

This trail is amazing and had an awesome hike! Hiked this in partial rain with significant fog but it was still very nice and I will do it again one day to try to catch the views. I read the review regarding crampons for the latter of the hike and wish I would have taken the advice - it was definitely doable without, but it would have been more comfortable with.

hiking
5 days ago

Great hike. Very difficult at sections (it was snow capped and iced over) in sections near the waterways, from the recent snow melt. Some challenges upward but worth the efforts when you reach the observation platform.

Love this hike loved it more when I could climb to the top, I personally think this is harder than hiking to Mount Le Conte. I recommend doing some hills and longer hikes prior to this one. The view is still stunning from the overlook. This is a must do hike in the park

So beautiful! The beginning is definitely steep, but so worth it for the views! I did it with my 14 month old on my back and was a great workout! Would love to come back and camp here.

great trail to challenge your leg strengths. I am a beginner hiker and it was a bit hard. it was worth to see the view on top!

hiking
8 days ago

Great hike with 2 kids, ages 9 and 4. The river was beautiful!

Saw more people than I would have liked, but the views were amazing. Go all the way to Myrtle Point. If icy, crampons are worth carrying.

Great trail to visit after a few rainy days. Beautiful waterfall but the hike is difficult particularly toward the end.

hiking
12 days ago

One of the first amazing spots I went the first time I visited North Carolina. Now I live within hiking distance of all the falls in Dupont State Forest. Awesome trails for all ages and amazing waterfalls. The only downside is it does get very busy during the summer.

Most beautiful trail in the park. If I could only do one this would be it for sure.

nature trips
14 days ago

Such a great hike during the off season. Lots of wonderful wildlife sounds and fresh air. You’ll love it! Not too strenuous. I’ve climbed much more difficult...It’s a great day hike. Enjoy!

This trail is one of my favorite trails in N.C. It has beautiful water features in the first section of the trail and stunning views from the top but do not expect this hike to be easy because it is a burner, especially towards the top. I have two dogs that I’m glad stayed at home for this one since it is, in some sections, very technical as there are ladders and exposed rock faces where a slip or loss of balance could result in injury to you or your dogs. Also, I would caution anyone who is hiking this in winter weather to be prepared with the right equipment.
I hiked to Calloway Peak and then went over to Raven Rocks before heading back down. Spend some time at the top because the views are awesome. All in all I hiked a little over 10 miles in about 5.5 hours according to the AllTrails app.

Beautiful hike!

Easy, short hike to pretty waterfalls. Low effort, high yield. Large parking lot right at the trail head. Way too crowded on a weekend though, I passed seriously no less than a hundred people coming and going. Very muddy as well because of recent rains. If you’re coming to Asheville from the east this would be a great pit stop (a couple miles off I-40) but I otherwise wouldn’t go out of my way to hike it again.

hiking
15 days ago

Nice easy walk through the woods. Trails were in good condition and well marked. It was wet and a little sloppy in places. My 9 year old had no problems and I managed carrying a 3 year old in a pack.

The trail is decent. there are always many people on this trail as this is the most popular trail in this SP. the view from the top is nice.

very nice climb, though view is boring.

Do the hike several times a month.
Great hike,magnificent view from the rock face.
One of my favorite hikes.

I love coming here in the winter and walking through the morning mist. No wildflowers, but I feel like I’m in LOTR. And not many people make it up here in early winter. If the visitors’ center is closed off, you can park at the picnic area.

trail running
16 days ago

Just completed a trail run here for the first time and will definitely be back. Even on a cloudy/rainy day the views were incredible. Plus it links up with the Mountains to Sea trail so you can go as long or short as you like.

The first mile is the most difficult - rocky elevation gain - but then you get to traipse along the ridge line for a while and it’s a breeze.

God this was the trail that led to my first view of a waterfall. Waterfall was breathless and worth the hike. However park ranger told us it was pretty easy hike, but my friend and I were struggling. Then again we weren't used to the altitude. Also lots of inclines, definitely not for beginners. Plenty of people hiking on trail which made me feel safe.

This was a quick trail. Definitely easy to moderate. Some areas may be slippery when wet. Also, we took two wrong turns. There were no trail markers.

hiking
18 days ago

Everything you’ve read about how relentlessly steep this trail is? It’s all true. Had we not been training for several months for this hike, wife & I probably wouldn’t have been able to get out of bed the next morning. Trekking poles are A MUST for this steep hike; your thighs and calves will thank you.
Even in the segments that don’t contain long flights of stairs, it’s still nearly always an uphill climb. All that said, the views from the overlook are pretty amazing. The bare “chimney tops” themselves are clearly visible from the overlook, so there’s really no need to follow the trail beyond the overlook (where it dead-ends at a gate).
After lots of rain a few days earlier, the trail was extremely muddy on the day we hiked it.
This trail is definitely showing signs of being “loved to death” by scores of hikers. (Wonder if some sort of daily lottery to manage the number of hikers might be the answer?)
Encountered a young couple on the trail with their dog, and had to politely let them know that dogs aren’t allowed on most hiking trails within the park.
Be sure to start this hike early enough in the day that you’ll arrive back at the parking lot before it starts to get dark. On our mid-afternoon trip back down, we encountered a number of folks just getting started who almost certainly would be coming down all those steep stairs in twilight.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the overlook before heading back to the trailhead and the pain reliever of your choice. Sunscreen and bug spray are wise precautions.
Although parking area is fairly large, it appears to fill up quickly, so plan to get there early to avoid having to park along the busy roadside and walk to the trailhead.
After completing this challenging but rewarding hike, treat yourself to a burger in Gatlinburg – you’ve earned it!

Great hike! Good trail running parts of it as well, especially on the descent. The view was beautiful, but wish there was a bit more to it. Recommend, though!

Wife & I hiked this trail to the bluffs and back for a total distance of 4.6 miles. This was perhaps our favorite of all the trails we hiked in the park, not so much for the destination but for the trail itself.
The first segment of this hike is just delightful, with gorgeous views up and down Alum Cave Creek. We did this hike after a day of heavy rain, which made the creek particularly full and active – and scenic.
Nice, wide path from the trailhead all the way to the bluffs. Numerous crossings on bridges or sturdy footlogs. Climbing the rock stairway through Arch Rock is a unique experience. The last segment past Inspiration Point is rather steep.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the bluffs before heading back to the trailhead. Even though much of this trail is shaded, sunscreen is never a bad idea. And since the trail is near the creek much of the time, bug spray is advisable during the warmer months.
A couple of days later we drove past this trailhead and parking was INSANE! Dozens of cars lining both sides of the road in both directions! This is most definitely a situation where you’ll want to be at the trailhead early in the morning to avoid the crowds – and an extra half-mile walk from your car to the trailhead!

hiking
18 days ago

Wife & I did this hike after a day of heavy rain, and the falls were really pouring! Much heavier than in any of the photos we’d seen.
Also due to the rain, the several side stream crossings weren’t the easy rock hop they probably are under normal conditions. A couple of strategically placed footlogs – so common on other trails throughout the park – would be welcome here.
The trail was extremely muddy because of all the rain; even without the mud, this trail definitely shows signs of heavy use.
Encountered a young couple on the trail with their dog, and had to politely let them know that dogs aren’t allowed on most hiking trails within the park.
We were hoping to cross paths with the llama train, but no such luck.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the falls before heading back to the trailhead or on up to Le Conte Lodge. Even though much of this trail is shaded, sunscreen is never a bad idea. And bug spray is probably advisable during the warmer months.
Parking lot isn’t terribly large, so plan to arrive early or be prepared for a walk to the trailhead.

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