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Awesome day hiking Rainbow Falls and Turtle Back today. Very cold temp dropping down to below 20 degrees; however, we managed to get some good shot(s) of the falls as well as the rainbow! Good times.

The trail is relatively short and not too challenging, and has a lot of great views of the waterfall, which was much bigger in person than I expected. Be sure to keep an eye out for trail offshoots that lead closer to the falls for even better views (we found one that put us literally right next to it).

Nice hike on gravel road. the views we good, even on a cloudy, snowy day.

good day hike. remember to pack enough clothes with elevation change from bottom to the top the temperature and weather can change pretty quickly.

I did this trail in January. It was 7 miles for me. The National Forest Road was closed (because of the shutdown I guess) so I parked off of 215 and hiked up the park road. It was a nice hike and beautiful out so I’m actually glad I couldn’t drive it. There are some inclines near the end, if you hike the road but they aren’t bad. Bring water and snacks and spend some time at the falls before you head back if you do the 7 miles. If you do drive, the road is well maintained. I don’t think there is any reason a standard car couldn’t get up the road, maybe if there was snow perhaps it would be harder. There were lots of limbs in the road when I went however. The falls were a little harder to find. The guy below who mentions the trailhead after the 4th bridge is correct. It’s harder to miss if you’re hiking, but if you’re driving, keep an eye out for the 4th bridge. The app gave me directions down to the falls which was super steep and didn’t look safe. It appears there are a few ways down to the falls people have attempted from the trails they have left. The safest way, continue on the trail, following the red marks on the trees. At the tree with the 2 red painted marks (they look like a pause button) there is a small trail to the left that leads you down to the falls, over an old, worn, short wooden boardwalk that leads to the steps people have mentioned. I didn’t think it was steep at all but I hike often. I attempted one of the other ways down I saw initially, but abandoned it bc it was way too steep to do alone. The trail by the red marks is way safer and obviously the way I was supposed to go. You’re going to see the falls and think it’s time to descend but keep going just a little farther until you see the red marks and go down and backtrack just a little to the falls. The falls are gorgeous! Also, I met a couple of other hikers who had come across a few harmless snakes on their hike in through the Cove trail. Yes, snakes in January.

So this is just needed ! Maybe once a week ? Views top 10! The parking lot has no sign from road ? And I am sure locals love it that We “ visitors” can’t find it easily

It was a bit rainy when we went but that just made the waterfall look even more spectacular. Great view of Rainbow Falls, didn't go all the way to Turtleback because we had the dogs with us and they weren't really behaving well that day but would love to go back!

Worth the visit. Very well kept and friendly folks around. Waterfalls are amazing. Would definitely come back for another run.

Beautiful hike with a gradual but steady incline all the way to the top. Some steep parts especially on the spur up to the Bald. Magnificent views at the top. My wife and I loved it.

Great day to do the hike, especially since the state park was closed so not may tourists around. Total mileage was 12.2.

17 days ago

Foggy wet and chilly but beautiful. the road leads to science center which has secondary trail heads that lead into SMNP. Too wet and foggy for those until spring.

1Jan2019 - recent rains increased flows nicely...
Great family hike. Enjoyed rainbow as Sun break though...

Fun hike! Not hard.

Great hike. Rainbow Falls are amazing. It was well worth the additional hike to go on up to Turtleback Falls.

Went on a cloudy, rainy and windy day. Most would’ve stayed home but we went anyway - so glad we did. Although the fog and clouds obscured the long views. Being out in adverse conditions imparts the beauty of nature upon one in a unique way. So great to feel the winds whipping and appreciating the power of the earth. Btw - no crowds when bad weather - try it sometime.

Warm Day in December. The trail was very busy so get started early on the weekend if you like to hike with little traffic. The falls were amazing after all the snow run off and rain. Very muddy and the mist at the falls got us all pretty wet. Great hike for newer hikers. Waterproof shoes helpful and be ready to get dirty!

Quick and easy one, no views because of the fog but the snow and icicles were beautiful.

25 days ago

Beautiful day. Great views. Recommend micro-spikes for winter ascents. Ice covered sections of the trail near the top. I also have to question that 10.4 mile out and back rating. It's more like 13 to 14 miles. Definitely on the difficult side but well worth the effort.

Short and sweet. Great for kids, grandparents, and the whole family! Heavy traffic every time I've gone, but worth it as a family trip.

I did this hike on probably the least likable day possible. 30 degrees with rain and ice but nonetheless, I still enjoyed myself. This hike was absolutely beautiful! Walking along the river is stunning and the waterfall is absolutely breathtaking. We only hiked to Rainbow Falls, which is the first fall along the trail. From start to finish, Rainbow is approximately 3.0 miles (BOTH WAYS). The trail is extremely well marked (no chance of getting loss, unless you leave the trail) but also extremely slippery due to the rain. It got a little scary along side the river and especially at the falls. This hike was not easy, there is a substantial amount of elevation fluctuations that make for a great workout but a strenuous experience. I can’t wait to do this hike again in good weather and the only reason I gave it four stars was because of the mud and water build up. Pictures do no justice and the falls are much bigger in person.

30 days ago

Because it's off the Blue Ridge Parkway, this is a very heavily trafficked trail. It gets so much traffic, in fact, that at some parts the surface of the trail is more than a foot lower than the surrounding ground. That means that there are some wet and muddy sections. The trail has a nice variety of environments, from the creek shore to mountain laurel forests. The section of the trail that leads up to Upper Falls has some steep climbs and you have to scramble over rocks and roots. But if this fat, old man can do it, so can you. Both the waterfalls are beautiful. Despite the name, there is no graveyard. The area got the name after a fire in 1925. All the charred stumps reminded people of gravestones.

This is an excellent, well-maintained trail with fantastic views. If you prefer a long, gradual climb and then a steep descent, go clockwise around the loop. If you prefer an initial steep climb and then a gradual descent, go counter clockwise. It's a very heavily trafficked trail, especially on the weekends, but the views make it worth fighting the crowds.

My happy place!

Wife and I hiked this one last Sunday and we will return. The sign at the trailhead says the trail is strenuous, but it is moderate at most so don't be deterred. I'm 69 and not in the greatest shape and I made it just fine. Lots of flow due to the recent rain and temps in the 60's so it was a great day to be on this trail.

nature trips
1 month 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 is a great hike with an excellent reward at the top. Moderate, quick hike for such a beautiful view. We went counter-clockwise which was probably a little tougher with steeper climbs but that’s the way we like it.

very nice climb, though view is boring.

So I would say this hike is about 3 miles from the start, where the directions via this app take you, to Wayah bald lookout tower. Took me an hour and a half to get to the tower. Started the hike at 10:45 AM, was back at my car by 2:30 PM, and I snacked and took pictures at the tower of course. A nice moderate hike for sure, no need to overload your pack for this one but you'll want some snacks and water.

gorgeous hike!!! a most see

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