Explore smokies - 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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backpacking
22 hours ago

Late November was ideal for staying good hiking temperature. It was a crisp 60F with orange leaves on the ground and great visibility through the trees. During the 8 mile round trip on a Monday we passed approximately 8 groups. 1.7 mph pace counting the stops at the falls. Toward the last 0.8mi terrain and steps get steeper. Climbed at fallen tree to get up the steps of the water fall and found out there is a somewhat unchartered trail to the right of the falls with a bear cave. Don’t start this hike past 1PM this time of year as darkness sets in quickly (low in Valley). Started at 12:30 came back to car at sunset 5:30 PM. Waited in the car for a couple who didn’t bring flashlights. 4 deaths on falls from kids climbing across slippery rocks in areas not marked for trail; sign says control your kids. Trail ends at great view (pictured) with no charted trail to top.

Used this trail as our descent from Mt LeConte. This is popular and busy but very challenging. 2700’ incline over 5.7 mi is a lot of uphill on the ascent. The initial part in the valley just after the trailhead is amazingly beautiful, however, with rhododendrons and a whitewater creek crossed by log bridges along the way. Once past that, the ascent begins and is relentless. The persistent are rewarded with some awesome views along the way. Be careful at this time of year: ice and snow can make some parts of the trail treacherous. If you plan to day hike this, bring water and allow plenty of time.

Great views! Definitely the best trail I’ve done in the smokies so far. Took my wife and I about 4 hours on the ascent and 2.5 on the decent. All around great.

Great hike for families. Lots of fun geological features and little boomers everywhere!

This is my go to spot .

hiking
4 days ago

This trail is tough! Granted, I am not a particularly fast hiker, but we started at noon and we didn’t get back to the car until about 8 pm. Definitely get started early! The falls are absolutely spectacular though! And the trail is just beautiful all the way up.

Got there around 730 no one else on the trail till we headed back is a beautiful trail well worth the time to falls about 1.5 hours to falls from trail head

Always a great trail have done in all season and winter is the best

Hands down the bedt hike we have ever taken. Beautiful all the way. And we would not call it strenuous, just a fun challenge (we are 67 year old intermediate day hikers).
A caution: The area right around the falls is a natural refrigerator. After you spend time up there, stretch before going back down & start out slowly. I did not & tore both ligaments in my left knee & the muscle in my right thigh. Easily preventable.
Can't wait to heal up and get back up there.

This is my favorite hike in the Smokies. Beautiful views and lots of amazing natural wonders to take in. Can be difficult at times but is well worth the effort. Can't wait to do this again when the wild flowers are in bloom.

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.

hiking
8 days ago

Cool short trail about 1.3 miles. Halfway around the loop you come across an old house. Pretty neat. Saw lots of wild turkey. Easy leisurely hike. Nice end to a strenuous day.

hiking
8 days ago

We did not go all the way to mount leconte. My hubby and I stopped at the bluff. From the trail head to the bluff, it’s about 2.2 miles. What a great hike. Really loved this trail. The mossy trees and creek were amazing. The arch was super cool. The bluff had icicles hanging that were falling down like missles. Loved it. This is a very popular trail so go early.

This trail had a bit of everything. the view from the top was amazing too! just beware of the ice all over the trail this time of the year

I have so much respect for this mountain after hiking this trail. Definitely one of the hardest hikes I've done, but also the most rewarding. There are so many beautiful landmarks to keep you inspired along the way.

Breath taking!

My wife and I hiked to Mt. LeConte via Alum Cave Trail. We have never gone this way before but have done it several times via Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. No matter which way you go, it is beautiful. The foliage was gorgeous.

What a wonderful trail A+++++

This hike has it all! Great variety of trees, views and difficulty including the cave, stone steps, and exposed rock where you will be thankful for the handholds. Be sure to wear waterproof shoes and once you get to the Lodge keep going for better views from the Cliff Top.

Beautiful hike, 10 mile round trip from Rainbow falls parking lot.

I thought I was gonna pass out but beautiful

Don’t miss this!!Absolutely amazing!!! Majestic views. It’s a long hike, start early so you can stop and take pictures along the way. It took us 8 hours round trip moving at a goos pace and making a few stops. Don’t eat the sack lunch at Le Conte lodge, it was horrible. Pack your own food and plenty to drink.

hiking
15 days ago

Me and my sweetheart Hoss went on this hike and it was beautiful,the climb is so worth it!! Beautiful views and cliffs.Seen the first snow of the year! The view from the top was beautiful,it was cold and windy. But cant wait to do it again. I couldn't ask for a better hiking partner,he wore me out!!

hiking
16 days ago

Beautiful hike this time of year! The GOLDEN canopy of fall foliage was.breathtaking.
The Gift at the end of the climb is walking behind the Falls. I captured some mesmerizing photos on the way back down at sunset looking over the mountains.
Great hike for ALL.

My favorite trail in the smokies. This is also my favorite route to mount leconte. During fall and spring parking can be full so leave early. Beautiful trail during the fall!

hiking
16 days ago

Easy hike, but really touristy. Perfect for kids and new hikers though! The falls are beautiful and you can go under them. I recommend continuing to Brushy Mtn (2mi further).

Great hike especially later in the year. You get to see multiple layers of the forest on the way up. Beautiful at the top. Moderately tough hike up, but if you go at your own pace it’s more than doable. Wear good shoes. Weather can change throughout the day.

Awesome trail. We logged 14 miles adding the two additional trails at the summit/lodge. Cliff tops is a must do for the views. Lodge is super quaint, check out the Lamas by the dining room. This is a strenuous hike with a good elevation from the base to the trailhead. Nice resting spot at Inspiration. Don’t forget to look for the eye of the needle. Others have mentioned it is very popular and well trailed. There are two parking lots at the trail head.

hiking
17 days ago

Beautiful hike but VERY strenuous unless you are an athlete. The cascades itself were gorgeous and cold this time of year (November). Steady incline and until you reach the first log bridge and then it gets steeper. Careful on the way down as it could be difficult for people with bad knees so hiking sticks are a good idea. Bathrooms are in the picnic area about ten minutes prior to reaching the trail parking area.

hiking
17 days ago

Great hike on a sunny day. Beautiful river and bridges. Waterfall was set off the trail a bit and in my opinion not the highlight. Trailhead easy to find and an interesting drive.

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