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

8 hours ago

The day we hiked, 1/3 of this trail was covered of ice, which made it super slippery and dangerous to climb up and down. There were so many people falling. 1/3 of it was super muddy. Bring spikes and hiking boots will help you finish this trail with no pain and effort. It wasn’t that bad in term of elevation but to be honest, the end view was such a joke to me. On the way back, I was able to relax after being so stressed out because of the ice then noticed some beautiful streams along the trail. If you want to challenge your body, go and do this trail. If you want something truly worth your effort, I would recommend doing other trails out there.

My group finished this trail in roughly 4 hours. We took it easy and enjoyed the view along the way. Absolutely my favorite in Smokies so far. First mile wasn’t that hard. Ice covered stairs in some parts and falling ice made it little bit scary. The view at the bluff is stunning. We didnt make it to the last 2 miles to mount Le Conte. I do want to go back and finish it one day. We all love this trail, hard but totally worth our effort.

9 hours ago

Very hard hike. Great views once you finally make it. It was snowy and icy for a portion of it which was very slick. There was also a lot of mud. If you can make it all the way up, the views are amazing. The way down seems like nothing.

Amazing hike today. Views are unbelievable. Steady incline most of the way but well work the effort.

Beautiful views and rock features with a nice stream to start. I climbed in March and made it about 0.5 mile past the bluff. I have a healthy fear of falling and one ledge was solid ice. Even with the metal rope hold it was too much for me. The path was icy after and I only had on trail runners, no spikes, so I called it quits. I saw a lot of young people hiking in regular sneakers. I’d highly advise against this and recommend spikes for cold months. Also carry lighting in case you don’t make it back before dark. If there are icicles at the bluff do NOT stop under them. They will fall and the large ones have the capability to seriously injure people. Looking up isn’t safer. Just put your head down and run under the bluff.

The top was still closed from the fire. It was pretty steep and difficult to climb down with the snow and ice

Great scenery, great hiking, beautiful weather. The reason not 5 Stars was because of the snow covering the trail and in some places it was solid ice. Recommend some spikes or chains for your feet. Other than that is was a great day

1 day ago

My birthday hike! A crisp 32 degrees in the morning! Snow and ice after the footbridge made for a interesting trip back down from the falls. Temps warmed up enough to thaw out the froze mud which made it as slick as the snow and ice! Loved it!

2 days ago

3.15.18: I enjoyed a sunrise hike! I started about an hour before sunrise in the ambient light and was at the viewing platform in time for the colors on the horizon just before the sun came up. It was icy the second half of the trail which was more treacherous coming down than going up.... I was ok in my solomans but would have preferred traction devices. I am a fast hiker and hiked alone, but even in the icy conditions and stopping for a few photos was done in under two hours, so it’s not a super long hike. If you have bad knees maybe avoid, there are lots of stairs as others have said. I didn’t think the stairs were too much, a few stairs then trail, then stairs...not an endless staircase up. The viewing platform at least at sunrise was spectacular, shades of purple and orange. Nice hike even with the end closure!

2 days ago

We started the trail while snow was still falling and it was around 25-28 degree outside. I couldn’t believe we climbed up for 1,000ft from trailhead to rainbow. It didn’t seem to be that much to me though. It was very slippery and frozen in last mile. We had to crawl over the big rocks to get up to the fall. Bring spikes if you have them. They will help a lot in the icy condition. When snow was melting, trail got super muddy. I got hiking shoes so it didn’t bother me much. People going with me in sneakers was struggling little bit. Overall, the fall wasn’t that impressive to me but the surroundings along the trail is fun and beautiful.

Need to work up to this one! Much harder than I anticipated, granted it was also day 3 of hiking around the smokey's. I only made it about .5 miles past Arch Rock. Will definitely be attempting again!

3 days ago

Very gratifying hike. We started at rainbow falls trailhead so the trip was a bit longer. VERY MUDDY. 3-6 creeks to walk through depending where you start.

Had to climb over a few fallen trees at one point but a beautiful waterfall at the end you could walk behind. Not too crowded. Icicles fall from the top of the waterfall so be careful!

Very worth it and would do this hike again.

Did the hike yesterday and it took 4 hours round trip. I myself am a well experienced hiker still took me that long going at a steady pace. Starts out flat then after you cross the bridge it slowly builds up and you go up for a while then go down then up and down, then you’ll get to a section where you cross a bridge over the stream you’ve been following and then there it gets Very steep up the entire way til the falls but let me tell you it’s WELL worth it! The day I went it had rained then snowed the day before so conditions were VERY VERY icy and snowy so if you go in the winter or in snow I recommend crampons on the higher elevations. But snow or not totally worth it! So overall it’s up and down than up the rest of the way great day hike!

If the tower (knew it was closed) was open a 4 Star. Used the Dome pathway as a start for my hike to Andrews Bald. Up to the tower base, across the short section of the AT and down the Dome bypass to Forney Trail.

The reward of the Dome pathway is the VIEWS coming (4 Star) back!!!!!! Even the views from the parking lot are 4 Star!!!!!!

did this trail may of 2017, loved it a little difficult, but really fun. On the way down saw three deer on the trail and almost could reach out and touch them, they were standing that close it was awesome

4 days ago

This was a great hike to do in March. It was snowing which made for a gray view. If you are moving you stay warm. We stopped for 1. Eat and 2. Pictures of the waterfall. After stop 1 we cooled off significantly and after stop 2 we were cold the rest of the way down (gloves got wet). Still 5/5 hike just be prepared to be cold if you get wet.

Beautiful trail. Some areas have big rocks that you have to sit and swing around to get over. If it’s a dry season the waterfall will only be a trickle with no rainbow.

we did this hike 3/11/2018 and it was a blast. pretty strenuous trail with lots of side areas to rock climb and look over the river. Overall my Garmin watch clocked us in at 11.5 miles for the whole trip (we did a lot side rock climbing/exploring), and took 5 hours The trail starts out mellow as expected and slowly gets steeper and more difficult. The last mile is pretty much climbing stairs the whole time. good workout, scenic hike, and the falls are beautiful. Definitely recommend!

This was a pretty cool hike. We went in March of 2018, so the road to get to the trailhead was closed for the season. But you can easily park at the rainbow falls trailhead and walk the rest of the way. It’s 2.0 miles to the trailhead and the trail itself is 1.4 miles long. The terrain of the trail was pretty rocky and rooty. We left out at about ten in the morning and didn’t encounter anyone on the way there, but encountered 3 or 4 groups on the way back. Once we got there, there were some nice photo ops from behind the waterfall.

on Chimney Tops Trail

6 days ago

The bridges and river crossing were beautiful. The trail was very muddy and steep the last mile. The view from the overlook was nice but clouds may have been obscuring the full effect.

Nice trail! Hiked it on 5/8. Rocks and the incline to the waterfall make it challenging. On a good day I don’t think it would to hard. The rocks would make it challenging for anyone who wants to attempt to run it. The day we hiked it was in the upper 20s to 31. Trail was snow covered and had lots of ice so that made to challenging and slow going, but the snow made the trail and waterfall look like a beautiful white winter wonderland!

this is a trail i love. great views and family friendly. just watch the children at the narrow parts of the trail where the cables are. Alum Cave Bluff is a great place to eat lunch and watch the chipmunks scavenge. its not real hard. mostly a gradual ascent.

7 days ago

Love this place! Amazing views!!

STRAVA app tracked 11.0 miles from trail head parking lot to the lodge area and back down. We wanted to do the extra 0.3 miles to the summit but we were completely worn out (in a good way!) Being from the Midwest, I am not acclimated to the higher elevation so this trail made me out of breath toward the top, but the terrain is not very difficult. Had a great time!! Took our group of 6 people exactly 7 hours to complete - slow and steady with lots of stops for pictures.

11 days ago

Well laid out trail. Fairly easy if you exercise regularly. I highly recommend wearing correct hiking gear. The multiple areas of water accumulation make rocks and mud slippery in certain areas. Worst part is the trail is extremely well traveled and crowded. Waterfall at the end is amazing! There are a few small waterfalls on the way up that keep you entertained, but keep going until you see a large number of people crowded around the falls with a sign that says no climbing on rocks!

Awesome trail! Still a great view even without being able to go the last .25 miles since it's closed.

Hiked up last May (2017) and spent two nights at the lodge. Spent the full day exploring the three peaks of LeConte. Hike up was pretty difficult, but I'm 72 and had a 40 pound pack. Hike down was easy, but I was already thinking about doing it again.

Was a awesome hike! My favorite so far and just did Mnt Leconte.
Views from Bunion are so amazing!
Also had ice so glad we had micro spikes, makes it a lot easier, faster and safer. Kinda tough hike but to us was well worth it, rocky so wear good boots for sure. Steep inclines so not for beginners and was crowed with tourists, most who did not make it to Bunion

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