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.

MUST DO Map
VIEW FULL MAP

one of my favorite, favorite hiking trails. this trail is moderate, but that depends on what type of shape your in. there a lot of stepping up (onto rocks), and also stairs to climb up. i did not make it to peak because i have a slight fear of heights but you get an awesome view non stop. it really is one of the most rewarding hikes i have been on yet! just a bit scary at the very peak.

I’ve done this hike a few times, once when the water was low and today with lots of free flowing creeks. It was an amazing time a day to hike. Went all the way to the top to see the Window Cliffs first and then stopped for a refreshing dip in the falls!! If you want to get in the falls i recommend hiking down the far side and climbing into the water at the bottom of the falls. There is a nice rock shelf for you to walk all the way up to the falls! Bring your GoPro for great pictures!! Poles are always recommended for passing through the 7 creek crossings, they Tend to be slippery no matter the amount of water/current flow!!

hiking
2 days ago

Great hike. Creeks were high due to recent rain although easy to pass using guide wires. View at end of trail would be better in fall with less foliage. Overall a strenuous hike with poles recommended!

Fairly steady climb, not too strenuous. There's a steep right turn about 0.3 miles from the top that can be easy to miss as that part of the trail is not as obvious.
The views are spectacular. When we got there, we were on top of the clouds. After several minutes they broke and we could see for miles.
I would definitely recommend it if you are wanting a sunrise hike as well, as the vista faces east over the valley.
Approx 2 hours up, 90 minutes down. Expect a lot of traffic, and set off early.

Amazing hike, we hiked it on a rainy day but it was still a great time. I highly recommend for everyone!

Super easy trail. Great for kids or less mobile. The waterfall was quite impressive and there was tons of places to explore right on the trail or right off the trail. Watch your signs though! Me and my party accidentally went the wrong wait at one of the turns because the signs were hard to see

hiking
5 days ago

VERY STRENUOUS!! VERY WORTHWHILE!! Please make sure to bring a backpack with hydration & snacks. Heavily inclined.

Starting off in the parking lot the views blow you away. We left early in the morning so the trail was not as busy. Absolutely breathtaking once you reach the Jump Off. Great views along the way also. Once we reached the summit of Mt Kephart we weren't sure if that was the jump off but had to go through some brush to continue. Once we got to the Jump Off there was no mistaking it. Absolutely incredible! Highly reccommend.

hiking
9 days ago

Nice place to take a easy hike to great views. The water fall loop take about 5 mins. The Stone Door trail is easy going in till you want to go down blow then it a little steep to the bottom. But at the top great views of the valley.

hiking
10 days ago

A challenging hike well worth the views from Rocky Top.

hiking
12 days ago

This was an absolutely beautiful trail from start to end! If you are looking for a challenging, but not too strenuous 2-3 hour hike that includes a creekside view and sound for a majority of the hike, well-marked and maintained trails, beautiful wooded area, 2 spectacular waterfalls and a great place to play in the water (especially for kids and water dogs!) then this is a great pick! We were very grateful to have read prior posts about how to route around the construction on the bridge, as we would have had no idea how to get to this secluded treasure! It was in the middle of no where, but definitely worth the drive! We hiked to the top fall first, followed by the lower falls trail. There was no way of swimmimg in the water near the falls as it was to rugged, but some great spots to wade in alongside the creek! Great hidden gem!

hiking
13 days ago

Favorite. Incredible overlook at a couple locations. One has a little deck to stand on, the other you can be right up on edge. trees at both provide shade to enjoy the view. Beautiful. Paved until the deck, then has lots of roots and sand. Has signs and labeled, but still confused. I missed something, could not find the stone door....

hiking
15 days ago

I wouldn't consider the trail hard. There is hardly any elevation gain and the creek crossings weren't terrible. I went late July and some of the creeks were dry or hardly had any water. Definitely wear water shoes, otherwise your shoes will be wet the entire time. I had a hard time locating the viewing area of the window cliffs. It says overlook, but usually when it says that you assume it's below you, but instead you need to look up and you will see them. Definitely missed that and had to ask another hiker. So be sure to look up!

We picked this trail on a rainy day so we missed out on the view at the top. Still a very nice trail and a little bit of a challenge from the normal trails. Since it was raining, waterproof boots and ponchos were life savers! The end is a little more difficult but fun! We will be back!

hiking
16 days ago

good lordy is this a thigh burner. first mile isnt bad but then its a constant incline. my camp site was over ran by bees so i just pushed to rocky top and thunder head. well worth the push. the blue haze and smokey clouds that roll in are worth an hour long site to embrace.

Very well-maintained and challenging trail. We (three 50+ year-old ladies) hiked GFM Trail yesterday; started at the parking lot for the swinging bridge, climbed to McCraes Peak, then on the advice of other hikers took Underwood Trail back to GFM Trail to return to our car. We are regular exercisers who are training for a Grand Canyon hike in October, and only hike occasionally. Although challenging mentally and physically (we climbed 10 ladders total, I believe, and relied on cables to pull ourselves along a few slippery spots), we had good hiking shoes with good tread (essential), plenty of water and comfortable backpacks. Conditions were very wet yesterday and a thunderstorm was predicted in the afternoon. We had intended to climb to Calloway Peak but decided to shorten our hike due to the storm. The trail took much longer than we expected, since rocks were slippery. Took us 4 hours. We will be back to accomplish this one in better conditions! Be prepared to pay $20 per person (ouch!) to enter the park on the side where the swinging bridge is, otherwise do the Profile trail to park for free (a longer hike). I think there were 7 or 8 ladders going up the way we did, but only 2 going down since we used Underwood Trail to return. Best hike yet and amazing views!

hiking
17 days ago

The view is amazing!!

hiking
18 days ago

Kids loved the hike

scenic driving
19 days ago

The coolest thing about this waterfall is you dont have to hike the trail IF you dont want to. There is a road that leads right up to the fall that goes right past it. It was November when we visited the fall so we opted to drive to it. The area is just beautiful and so is the falls!!

My family and I hiked this on a Tuesday in July. It was a fun hike and the waterfalls were beautiful. We got into the water at both falls and had loads of fun. The trail itself is mostly single track through woods and along the side of the river. Going down to the falls is mostly downhill, and the return loop has a stretch of uphill that requires some effort. Nothing too serious though. I highly recommend this hike.

We went twice first time say only 2 couples and 4 days later saterday saw at least 7 couples. We swam it it lots of fun. Did see a large snake. No other wildlife.

I only spent 3 months living in North Carolina, but as a native westerner, I was impressed at the natural terrain I found in this part of the Appalachians. Grandfather mountain comes close, in a few ways , to the foothill type peaks I have around my home in North Idaho, but with even more lush and green scenery surrounding it. Being very developed, the trail head is easy to find, and the main challenges are steepness of the ascent and (certain times of year) slippery rocks and exposed roots. This is not a trail area for out of shape people, but with proper pacing, it can be done. Prepare for some scrambling in sections, but a benefit is that there are many potential view points once you get up top. In September, when I visited, it was misty and moist, but not cold, which made for some great hiking weather, but less than ideal under foot conditions. Heartily reccomend this trail.

hiking
22 days ago

We took off via the Lead Cove trail head, and only ran into a few people before reaching the Bote Mountain split. It is a climb from start to finish. Spence Field is a great place to take a break before heading on up to Rocky Top, where the view is amazing. We spent more time up there than we meant to.

I knew what I was getting into with this hike, but it was still very challenging. Prepare for a long difficult trip if you aren't in excellent shape. My tracker also said that it was 12.8 instead of 11.6 round trip so keeping up with that threw me off a little bit.

Absolutely beautiful place

Wow! My husband and I hiked this trail today. We knew it would be good but we didn’t know it would be as beautiful as it was! It’s hard and takes time but it’s so worth it!! Wear good hiking shoes and bring water.

hiking
23 days ago

This is a marvelous hike. Wear proper shoes and clothes for getting wet. Depending on the levels, the creek can be high or low. If current is mild, great swimming holes. Pack a lunch and enjoy the view. Before it was a park, it was not as diverse as now. Great low lands to enjoy. State has done a great job putting in split rails to keep you from sliding down the hills (thanks)! If in the area, please enjoy but know this is a hike, not a walk in the woods. The hard rating is earned

24 days ago

very very hard high scary but worth the views

Nice trail, not much to see until you get on top of the ridge, then beautiful. Saw two on the trail. Pretty cool.

You get a little bit of everything with this hike. Views, bouldering, and a great workout. Took us a little under 5 hours with plenty of stops to sit and look out at the scenery. Be ready for ladders.

Load More