Explore Must do. - 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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2/3 of the way is pretty basic. The last 1/3 was more fun. Stepping through and over more creeks, trees, rocks. The terrain became more intense. Once I reached the waterfall, the temperature had dropped and the rocks were iced over. It was beautiful, very private and reclusive.

hiking
snow
4 days ago

easy hike, good views. Dont try and get a picture by the falls unless you want to walk back with freezing feet. Ha!

Beautiful, easy hike. Cool ice cave. Hiked today (mid-January) with hiking/snow boots and we were just fine.

great hike! we didn't go up the last portion but it was so much fun anyway. snow was packed in but we had spikes and poles. definately need to go back and go up to the cave!

hiking
10 days ago

I hiked this yesterday with a friend. It wasn’t too crowded and the snow was packed down so hiking boots were fine. We didn’t do the very last part to the actual falls because it was too steep and slippery. Other people were doing it though.

The trail was traveled enough and the snow was so packed that we never used our snowshoes. Hiked a little past the Mud Springs Trail junction. Started just as it was getting light and watch the sunrise lite up the mountains behind us. The morning light made the mountains look incredable

hiking
14 days ago

Did this hike on the way to Mt LeConte. Falls were gorgeous and you're able to walk behind them. Went on a Monday in December so there were no worries of crowds whatsoever.

Amazing short little hike. It has hard snow pack so no snow shoes necessary. The view at the falls is amazing. Truly a great one for the whole family. And the reward is well worth the work.

hiking
19 days ago

Lovely winter hike. The road and trail were sufficiently packed that snowshoes were not necessary, although they may help some folks. No waterfall visible during the winter, but it was still worth it for a beautiful woodland walk.

We did this hike on 12/20 and there was a bit of snow/ice on the trail, but not on the majority and not slippery. Very few people on the trail this time of year. It's beautiful along the whole way.

Awesome views along a well maintained and varied trail. Falls were better than expected

If you’re looking for an easy paved and cut out trail this is for you. You’ll be directed to the waterfall with ease. Now, if you want to go to see the donut shaped rock where the waterfall has cut through, you’ll need to do some climbing. My group scaled the waterfall. Shoes and pants were wet, but to us, it was worth it to feel the icy water and take pictures at the top. We typically do difficult hikes, so adding this climbing factor make it more interesting and worthwhile.

Good trail, the hike up to the trailhead was the biggest workout for me but the scenery was nice and it wasn’t too long

snowshoeing
1 month ago

Not the hike we expected. "Best used" through October is more than a suggestion. Once Brighton resort is open for the season, hikers need to take the "uphill route" on Milly Access / Lost Maid and then exit the Wren Hollow gate to out of bounds. We looped around Dog Lake and made it up to the overlook of Lake Mary. Didn't have any backcountry gear/beacons and definitely would have wanted them if we were to go any farther towards Lake Catherine.

snowshoeing
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

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
1 month ago

The trail is good now. No snow shoes needed.

hiking
1 month ago

This trail was SO beautiful today! The snow was perfect on the trees and mountains and good to walk through. Lots of people snow shoeing and with touring skis. I had hike spikes and poles and that worked great. The falls at the end was amazing and so worth traversing up the rocks at the top to get inside the little cave. The road to the trailhead is closed due to snow but it doesn’t make it that much longer.

hiking
1 month 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.

walking
1 month ago

We just hiked this trail on 11/23. There were 7 of us, 4 adults and 3 kids. It was definitely a fun trail. The falls were gorgeous. Lots of places for the kids to explore and climb. We turned back after the falls (the kids couldn't handle another 5 miles to LeConte).
Lots of roots and rocks but overall an easy hike. It was VERY muddy in some areas but nothing that a good pair of waterproof hiking boots couldn't handle.
The only thing was, with it being Thanksgiving week it was VERY crowded. Way too many people to the point where it was difficult to maneuver around everyone at the falls. I highly recommend this trail, just not during a heavy tourist season.

Easy and pretty

on Grotto Falls Trail

hiking
1 month ago

We loved this hike and you can walk behind the falls! We hiked it the day after Thanksgiving with our 8/11 yr old boys. We got there about 9:30 and it wasn’t too busy until we made our our way down, it took us just over two hours including time at the falls. You cross several small streams on the way up and the falls are gorgeous. There are numerous spots you have to walk over areas of roots which could be challenging for some but the trail has some great views of ridges and areas that are dense with rhododendrons along the sides of the path and hills which I’m sure are even more amazing when in bloom. We saw people of all ages on the hike so I’d rate it as easy but do recommend hiking boots as it can be muddy and wet. The drive out of the park was stunning and is worth the drive even if you don’t do the hike. You pass many smaller falls, cross single track bridges and pass Cade’s Cove I believe (we didn’t have time for this). We did Rainbow Falls a few days before which is about 5.6 miles in and out but the scenery on this hike is on par with Rainbow and shorter if pressed for time or not up for the longer uphill hike.

Easy trail filled with families and presumably first time hikers, AKA no hiking etiquette what so ever. Quick and easy to get to the waterfall, keep following the trail past the waterfall for peaceful hiking. I suggest doing this early am or before sunset to beat the crowds and ease of parking. Would not do again or recommend to friends

Very beautiful, not difficult, and good for kids. Bring extra socks and shoes as it gets muddy and slippery and your socks will get soaked. At least one bottle of water per person. Get there early like 7-8am or you won’t find parking.

hiking
1 month ago

great trail, a lot slippery though from the little river but the views and the end are well worth it

I brought our family from Virginia, an 18,16,and 13 year old and my own kids 11,9,7,and 5 year old. Good snow, icy at the top. Beautiful at the top, good for all ages.

hiking
2 months ago

Nice hike. It was the only blue sky day of the week. We got to the parking area about 10:00 am and did find a parking spot. There is a bath room at the trail head. It was fairly busy to the falls. Easy to moderate. The falls is beautiful and it’s cool that the Trillium trail passes behind it. We had a snack there and continued up the trail another mile or so towards LeConte. Here, we were wonderfully alone. This trail is much less traveled. Only saw a group of 6 people coming down from the Lodge. The snow line started around 4000 ft. I found some neat ice needles forming in the mud at the base of some of the fallen tree roots. We turned around at a river crossing around 4500 ft. There are several turn of the century log homesteads on the motor trail that are interesting history to spend time at on your return to Gatlinburg.

I got plastered by artificial snow makers trying to find the trailhead by the Brighton Ski resort, but once found it was a great hike! It was fairly quick, even with the snowfall on the ground. I loved skipping rocks on the frozen lake and hearing those cool Star Wars noises.

We enjoyed this trail. Wonderful view at the end and a distant petroglyph in the middle.

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