Explore Gatlinburg - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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A December hike in a sunny day is fun! Along the creek first then hike up to the cave. Further to the Cliff top. Narrow road but with chain to grab on. Still icy at the top. Special gears could help. A great day hike choice! !

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.

Beautiful the whole way through, with the river running parallel for the first bit of the hike and several smaller falls along the way. Loved the wooden and rock bridges and saw a few deer as well. It was raining during our ascent, and because it’s highly trafficked, it resulted in a muddy mess on the way down. This trail is very rocky and I highly recommend proper footwear, especially with the rain and mud. Great trail but would be better once it dries out in a couple days. The waterfalls were huge though because of the rain!

This is a scenic trail with lots of great views. However, it is extremely muddy and slick. I would not recommend it as a trail run.

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.

Worth the hike up the mountain. The water fall was gorgeous and refreshing to see after the walk. Breathtaking views of the mountain from the top.

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.

Very snowy and at sections icy. A great climb in the winter with spectacular views. I added some pics with this review. Be cautious climbing near the river sections, snow melt is high from the recent dumping and had iced over on bare rocks.

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

hiking
7 days ago

Beautiful hike with stunning views throughout! Quick and easy hike that is well worth your time.

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.

Good easy beginners hike. All paved with slow grade up. Waterfalls was just another proof of Gods handiwork!

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

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

Beautiful hike!

on Rainbow Falls Trail

hiking
15 days ago

Even though it was super cold it was still an awesome hike!!! Snowing at the falls and it was gorgous!!! Closer to the falls the ground and rock crossings were icy. But it was still a great hike!!!

Amazing trail. Paved all along the way and wasn't hard. As a novice hiker, this trail was a great start. Waterfall at the end was beautiful. Lots of people though so if you want that solidarity and personal experience, it won't happen. But still enjoyed it! Saw a cub up close too!!

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!

Having read everything we could get our hands on about the Walker Sisters and being fascinated with their story, my wife & I considered the hike to their home to be a pilgrimage of sorts. It’s a particularly special place for those who are familiar with their lives and their story. Walking through the cabin where these ladies lived for so many years was a moving experience.
The stop at Little Greenbrier School on the way to the cabin is worth a few minutes. (See if you can recognize one of the Walker Sisters in the class photo on the interpretive panel!) Glad to see so many of these historic structures being maintained, although it’s discouraging to see so much graffiti on many of them. (Portable toilet near parking area at school.) Trail continues at gate above parking area.
Recommend hiking from Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area (plenty of parking, restrooms locked when picnic area is closed) rather than driving to the school and hiking from there to the cabin. Trail begins at far end of vehicular bridge across from picnic area and features several stream crossings on sturdy footlogs.

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.

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. Due to time limitations, we turned around at the falls rather than venturing farther down the trail to explore the old-growth forest.
Because the trail is paved due to heavy use, this hike can certainly be done in sneakers, although hiking boots to provide better traction are a good alternative.
Parking lot fills up fast, so arriving early is advised. No toilet at trailhead.

Great trail that isn’t too challenging with some great Mountain View’s.

9-29-17 one of the most beautiful trails out there. Cute log bridges and interesting features along the way. We sighted bear scat. At the top we had a foggy view but the smell of pine and lush flora made it more than worth it! We hit the trail very early and had some solitude at the way up- as always the further out you go the less people you see. Took us a little over 5 hours.

just loved all aspects of this hike...the waterfalls were beautiful and the hike was worth every step!

Gorgeous views from the tower. Very busy, lots of people when we were there. Concrete pathway with incline.

I’m not this fittest guy in the world but for most of this trail I was thinking it was more moderate than hard. Then I reached the last section (the rock scramble) and oh boy, it’s definitely a calf burner and a knee killer on the way down. But overall I really enjoyed this trail! Fantastic waterfall at the end. It took just over 5 hours to complete.

Best trail to the top of Mt. LeConte. Absolutely the prettiest views. At times you'll feel like you want to quit, but once you get to the top you'll see that it's worth it. After getting to the top, I recommend spending a couple of hours to recharge before the trek down. Maybe eat some lunch over on Cliff Tops. If the store is open, pick of a shirt to commemorate the year you hiked it, and don't forget the pic in front of the lodge. Remember, no gifts for people that didn't make the hike.

Was very steep! The beginning along the water in the woods was beautiful. Waterfall not impressive. Much more abundant falls in North Carolina.

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