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Be prepared for "are we there yet" questions. Good luck not asking anyone how close to the top you are. The hike itself isn't that tough, just longer than you realize. After a few false hope finishes, you will get to the top and feel like you just found the portal to middle Earth. Extremely rewarding view. Just remember, you have to go back down...finishing the hike back down is the most satisfying.

Rather easy, less than 1000 feet elevation gain trail.
We were here on a weekend , so met some people but it was not crowded.
Beautiful waterfalls.
The whole trail sparkles! You need to witness it in order to understand it.
Be prepared for several water crossings specially in wet season. .

hiking
1 day ago

I got to the trailhead just before noon on a Thursday so it wasn't very crowded at all (I saw hardly anyone coming back down). It was in the low 60s with a good breeze which was nice to keep from getting too hot. The first half or so is full of switchbacks and a steady uphill climb, though like others have said it's more moderate than hard. If you're not an experienced hiker and want a good test of your fitness level then this is a great choice. The view at the top is incredible and well worth the trip. It can get incredibly windy up there and the rocky endpoint of the trail is very steep so watch your step.

The Looking Glass Rock trail is very popular and is advertised in local tourism magazines. The parking lot at 35*17.411'N and 082* 46.631'W holds no more than 10-11 cars. On an April weekday morning I was first at sunrise and the lot was packed when I got back down... so go early. The climb is scenic and goes up countless switchbacks so there is no place that is steep, but it's a lot of uphill. Near the top is a helipad at 35* 17.945'N and 082* 47.328'W that is right next to the trail. Next you'll reach the summit, which is an open, sandy clearing. Go beyond the summit and descend a ways to reach the viewing area at 35* 18.262'N and 082* 47.680'W. The viewing area is steep with no fence or barricade so watch the younger kids!. Due to an abundance of rocks and roots at the higher parts of the trail, boots are advised. And you'll also want the extra traction on the rock face. The view is exceptional and gives a 180* panorama to the west. For the classic view of Looking Glass Rock as you leave, turn left onto US 276 and go 5 minutes up the road to the Looking Glass Falls and take pictures then continue up the hill to the Blue Grass Parkway, turn left, and go to MP417. There is a designated pull-off and other nice views of Looking Glass Rock nearby.

I hiked this trial on the 19th of April. Very steep path, certainly between start and first 1.5 miles. Certainly after 2 miles it gets less demanding. At Governors Rock faced a lot of wind but enjoyed a lot the view. The overlook on top of Table Rock is magnificent. Fantastic view over the massive forests this region has. Definitely worthwhile! All in all this can be a tough hike for non trained persons. I started the hike at 11h30 and got back at the entrance around 14h30. One can do it in half a day. Great to have this hike checked of off my to-do-list. Greetings

hiking
4 days ago

This hike, in my opinion, is an ideal day hike. It has it all: a timeline totally doable in a half day, interesting trail that is well maintained, and amazing views from the top. I hiked this on a Wednesday in April, starting at 7:40 am, and reaching the summit in a little under 1 hr 40 min. I hiked with my favorite hiking companion (my dog), and we had a great time. We didn't see a single person on the way up, or during our 50- minute stay at the top! We had GREAT views from many lookouts on the huge summit. We started our descent a little after 10, and got back to the car at 11:30. We were taking our time on the way down, as I had to negotiate my dog down the steep rock sections at the top, and he had to sniff and pee on a lot of things. So overall trip time was 3 hr 50 min, but only 3 hr of that being actual hiking, with 50 min at the summit. For planning purposes, this hike was not particularly difficult if you are a semi-regular hiker and in decent shape. However, if your idea of a "hike" is something like Yellow Branch Falls (3 miles on flat terrain through the woods), then this may not be the hike for you. Would not recommend for inexperienced hikers, individuals who are out of shape, or those with joint issues, due to the steeper sections of the trail. If you are in good shape, you should get a nice little workout doing this. Overall, a great view and experience payout for relatively low time investment. I will certainly be going back!

As Everyone says... Very difficult, but worth it! It had been on our to do list for years. Don't care what anyone says, it's definitely harder coming back down. Great feeling of accomplishment for casual hikers.

Great hike with wonderful views from on top of the wall to below the wall. Good amount of campsites, some with water sources and some without. Only problem is the bears in the area. They will come into your camp and they are accustom to human interaction, so trying to scare them off is a bit more difficult. Just come prepared for bears if you are camping and it should be fine.

6 days ago

No waterfall on the trail to the top, but the view from the top is gorgeous! Looks up at the parkway and black balsom area.

Great hike! Tough trek but the view atop make it totally worth the torture. The app underestimates the actual elevation gain and loss. The app’s elevation map stars the trailhead starts around 1200’ and the summit is around 3000’ which would put total elevation in the 3400’- 3600’ range and not the 2600’ listed. In other words it’s more difficult than you might think.

hiking
8 days ago

This is a great hike for the whole family but not small children

Amazing view at the top. Well worth the strenuous hike up.

hiking
9 days ago

First time hiking this trail. I did get lost on Natureland Trust. It looked as if there had been a lot of rain previously where trees and rocks were washed down on the trail in some spots; however, I did find an amazing view of the waterfall. Be careful on Natureland Trust Trail-easy to loose markers in spots. Fantastic group of trails-especially Natureland Trust. Definitely NOT for children. You will need hiking boots. From advice here, I took the strenuous paths first and do recommend that! I did #11 to #12, #14, #13, back to #11 and parking. With my off the trail excursion, around 9 miles and it took me around 4 hours. Will do this hike again!

What an incredible day. Mild temps (60-70’s) and sunny. Went during the week, so the trail was empty the majority of the way there and back. The view was remarkable and the hike was challenging in some areas but definitely doable. One of the best hikes I’ve been on.

hiking
12 days ago

Great trail. Saw a young black bear in a tree about 1.5 miles in.

Challenging hike, with great views.

Great hike. Took us (family of 4 with 2 out of shape parents and 2 in shape teenagers) a little over an hour to reach the falls and about 50 minutes to get down. That included a few breaks to rest, hydrate and/or check out the scenery.

Trails are well maintained with steps in all steep sections.

Falls are beautiful. Worth the effort. Plan to spend at least 30 minutes up there.

Had to wait about an hour to get in the park. We were 7th car in line when we arrived at about 1:00 PM on a Thursday during spring break.

Awesome trail with a breathtaking view at the mid point. Not an easy hike but worth it.

Just did this hike and really enjoyed it. A surprisingly busy area. My GPS had it at 9.3 so something is going on there, I wonder if parts of the trail have been re-routed, especially on the down side of Dismal Trail. Certainly some rough spots and the climb up the valley on Natureland can be tough. The only reason I rated this 4 instead of 5 was that I never found a way to get close to the falls, other than going over the top on the suspension bridge.

Very fun trail, 1:15 up and and 1:10 down for two able-bodied 28 year-olds. Down took longer than expected because it was just about noon and there were more groups on the trail.

We got there at about 9:45 and there was only one other car in the parking lot. By the time we got back at 12:30, the lot was overflowing.

Very well marked trail! Great views at the top. A little tricky at times with rocks and roots, but not bad. Do not go careening off the side of the Rock and die, please.

Somehow when I was a camper we did this hike in 3 days (???).

We did this hike with our two kids, ages 8 and 11. It took about 1.5 hours to the top, views were amazing. It took a little less than an hour to return. Not an overly crowded trail.

Great trail with beautiful view at the top! We went on a weekday so it wasn’t crowded.

Rainbow and Turtleback are gorgeous. lots of stair climbing and elevation changes (103 floors per my fitbit) but its all worth it. My 8 year old and I enjoyed the trail, waterfalls and all the cool spots to walk out on the rocks in the river.

hiking
19 days ago

Have done this trail twice. It is amazing. The view at the top is gorgeous and worth the steep climb.

First time doing this trail. Completed the Raven Cliffs Falls, then decided to go down the purple/pink trail. It was hard! Before you embark on the trail, do make sure you have food and water as the sign says. However, I completed (looped around the bleu trail and then back on the red trail/raven cliff falls) the whole trek at 8.28 miles in a little over 4 hrs (including getting lost a few times) according to my gps. But I went without taking breaks and fueled up as I progressed.
Views were okay . The bridge was okay. Not my favorite hike but definitely a good workout! Raven cliff falls and the bleu trail would be good for running so I will probably do those again in the future.

hiking
19 days ago

I am 5’0 and some of the steps were taller than I wanted. This is a tough hike (didn’t realize I had a broke foot when I hiked it). Worth every step I took!!!
Spectacular view!

Awesome trail, but it somehow turned into an eleven mile trek. Take lots of water, some food and be sure to leave in enough time to get back before dark.

I don't think I would call this one Hard by any means.... I think moderate would be a better description. Nice fun hike that you can knock out pretty quick. Round trip was 1:50 for me, moving pretty quick though.... Approach shoes are really nice when the rock is wet.

hiking
19 days ago

For starters- this trail is only 5 miles.
Also- DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE SMOKIES!!!

The route to the trail is on Cade’s Cove Loop “scenic driving trail” so there are tons of people, cars, dogs (which are not allowed), stop & go SLOW moving traffic.
Turn right onto gravel road past site 10 & before site 11.

There are so many people on this trail that it ruins it. Very touristy. I recommend checking out other water falls just as beautiful as this one instead (see Conasauga). We knew this going into the hike, so we chose a Wednesday morning and it was still so crowded. Over 100 cars parked at the trailhead by the time we left.

trail says about 8 miles but my GPS had us over 11. take on dismal trail by coming from raven cliff falls trail. that sends you down the hard way first and the end will be easy, me and my fiancee went backwards unknowingly and it was rough. definetly the most difficult trail I've hiked. but it's very rewarding.

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