Courthouse Rock Trail is a 2.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and nature trips and is best used from March until October.

Length2.3 miElevation gain738 ftRoute typeOut & back
kid friendlyHikingNature tripsForestRiverViewsWaterfallWildflowersWildlifeRockyNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

WARNING: This trail is not an official designated trail in Great Smokey Mountains National Park nor is it maintained by the park. Hike at your own risk. The trailhead is hard to find on first glance: it's right across the street from the small parking area the GPS coordinates take you to.

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Reviews (108)
Photos (181)
Recordings (80)
Completed (215)
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Jerry Trivette
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 4, 2021
Hiking
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Jeanette Hoelscher
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 27, 2021
Hiking

Quiet trail. Not a lot of traffic. Nice waterfall off to the left as you get to the end.

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Jd Lowe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 20, 2021
Hiking

Nice little hike. Great for getting back into it, a decent incline. Beautiful picture spot on rock ledge/formation.

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Bill Evans
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 10, 2021
Hiking

Unmaintained trail in the GSMNP... lots of blowdowns to negotiate, but trail was mostly easy to follow. Trail near the cave becomes very steep & is slick in places. Ice prevented us from actually getting closer than 20 yds to the cave. Stopped at Courthouse Rock on the return. This is a must see!

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Steve Ellis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 14, 2021
Hiking
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Bryce Jacobson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 21, 2020
Hiking

Nice secluded hike.We had the trail to ourselves until we ran into some folks about a quarter mile from the end. The path was slightly difficult to follow at the very beginning and at the top (abrupt right turn after fallen log marked by arrow in pics.) Great views from rock ledge and cool rock formation at top. We ended up at 2.7 miles.

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Tracey Parker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 13, 2020
Hiking

Trail not really marked at all. Lots of trees down. BUT no people on trail made this a great smokies adventure on a warm Sunday. We saw one snake.

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Judy Mucasey
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 27, 2020
Hiking

Use AllTrails pro to stay on this hard to find route all the way up. Hard to locate without guidance.

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Jason Kidd
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 27, 2020
Hiking
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Andrew Olberding
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 14, 2020
Hiking

Nice solid hike. Decent elevation change and great views.

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Bill Brower
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 9, 2020
Hiking

Better condition than I expected. Narrow and moderately overgrown near the top. Beautiful views and the rock is a great vantage/rest spot

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Jordan Larremore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 8, 2020
Hiking
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Kristin Greco
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 6, 2020
Hiking

Ok so finding the trail was next to impossible lol keep your eyes peeled cause the leaves make it extra hard. Definitely follow the suggestions of previous comments. We put a stick in the ground to try and make it a little easier. Also you really need your GPS on for this one. It’s incredible easy to get off path. We didn’t see any snakes and the views were so great half way up the trail! Honestly if you stop at those two lookouts you’ve done enough cause the end is basically a giant rock. Which is super neat and you should get to it but don’t feel bad if you don’t lol we added a pic of the arrow everyone is talking about as well. Enjoy!!

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nate boer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 30, 2020
Hiking
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Emily Seaver
Yellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarOctober 24, 2020
Hiking

Could not find trail head or trail so just explored with friends :)

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glenn cooke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 17, 2020
HikingBlowdown

Hiked this Oct. 16th, trail is grown up but pretty easy to follow. There are a couple of forks where you may lose the correct trail, but most spur trails didn't go very far. So we didn't have to back track very far. One turn near the top was marked with an arrow made from rocks. Lots of blow down trees across the trail but nothing you couldn't get around easily. A couple of rock outcroppings provided a great overlook and the courthouse rock at the tops was impressive.

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Kiersten Whitaker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 15, 2020
Hiking
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Jessica L
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 11, 2020
HikingMuddyOver grown

It was 65 degrees and rainy- not a snake in sight. Above the falls: a tree is down and obscures the turn to Courthouse Rock. There are three rocks forming an arrow pointing to the trail to the right (for courthouse rock.) I uploaded a photo of this intersection. You would continue straight at this junction for the cave. There are several turn offs and sort of dead end routes along the way. Nothing is marked so it is easy to go the wrong way if you don’t record your progress and pull out your phone from time to time...of the “wrong way” trials we encountered, to be fair, they did taper out pretty quickly becoming obvious that they were off course.

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David Kindel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 10, 2020

When driving uphill, the GPS would have you park in the pull out on the left, then cross the street and scramble over a hill. I would highly suggest to park at the next pull out, which is about 20 yards further uphill on the right. Trailhead really starts there, and this avoids the scramble. The hike is fun and moderate. Very easy to wander off onto spur trails, so keep your map ready and check GPS often. Even doing this, I never found the waterfall, but did find the courthouse rock, which was pretty interesting.

Comment from AllTrails

- 4 months ago

Thanks for your feedback. This trail has been reviewed and updated to reflect the comments in this review. For additional questions please email support@alltrails.com

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Anna Wan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 21, 2020
HikingScramble

Great hike - instructions that trail starts right across the street from the parking lot was very necessary. Once you make it up the initial mound - take a right to start hiking. Lots of thrushes and growth and some spider webs, just due to lighter traffic - but path was still very clear. We made it 75% of the way up to a clearing / rock cliff with great views — where we saw a huge rattlesnake, got a bit spooked and decided to turn around.

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Kayla Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2020
Hiking

Awesome trail. Very quiet. Wear pants.

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keegan canty
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 5, 2020

Decent hike. We didn't see a single person the whole hike which was great. We also saw a Timber Rattle Snake sunning which was very cool and is the reason why I'm giving it four stars.

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Lucy Mellen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 5, 2020
Hiking

First off, the hike was very cool- very pretty and a lot to see although #1 piece of advice would be to wear pants. When they say primitive they mean it, a lot of high grasses and a narrow trail. In order to find the trail, use the directions function and it’ll take you right to the offshoot where you can park. Next, hike a little up the mountain still (south) and you’ll find the trail head on the west side of the street (i included a picture with my mom standing right in front of it) the trail was cramped at first but starts to open up later on so if you’re dedicated to the hike push on. We spotted rattlesnacks only once we got to the lookout rock (before the end of the hike) there were 3 curled up in a crevice on the rock although we passed another group that said they saw rattlesnakes at the final rock as well. Once you start the uphill climb it continues pretty steadily the whole way.

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Catherine Albano
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 4, 2020
Hiking

Cool trail, very quiet. The trailhead is hard to find on first glance- it's right across the street from the small parking area the AllTrails GPS coordinates take you to. Once you get up the slope, though, it's pretty easy to follow. Saw 3 timber snakes chilling on the big rock with a view as we were coming back down. After our hike we chatted with a park ranger and apparently there's a short connecting trail to a cave somewhere closeish to the top, but we did not know about it going in and so did not see it.

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Courtney Brewer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 4, 2020
HikingOver grown

Hard to find, download the map first. Wear long pants, watch for the rattlesnakes.

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Kelli Johnston
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 29, 2020
Hiking

Hiked this trail today with my kids, 12,11 and 6. Left about 11:30 am. Parked at pullout on left heading up mountain then walked up a little and crossed to trail head (that pullout was full with 3 cars at the time). Saw only one other family of 4 on the trail which was great as we were looking to hike without a crowd. The rock outcropping 3/4 of the way up was a welcomed relief with nice breeze on a warm day and, much to my relief, no snakes! Great views. Lost two bottles of water that tumbled out of the backpack and down the slope of the rocks. After the rock outcropping we hiked a little further to the waterfall which was awesome and then we turned back. Trail is narrow but was easy to follow and was definitely on the strenuous side going up but totally worth it. My 6 year old whined a little but we all had fun. Fun river crossing and lots of greenery and some fun downed trees to climb over and under.

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J V
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
Hiking

We were rained out before we could find the trail :( BUT, we may have some useful info. Based on prior reviews, that are also helpful, we went back and forth between Sugarlands Visitor Center (on Newfound Gap Rd,) and the first couple miles driving south. Eventually we asked someone at the Visitor Center and she directed us to another office in the building, to a woman who knew the route. We were given a generic map on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper w/ color-highlighted lines for creeks, roads, etc. I uploaded a screen shot of this map in All Trails photos. Even w/ this map and info that the woman told us, we did not find the trail. As we (maybe) got close. Heavy rain started. My best guess is that folks pull off somewhere and just start climbing/hiking up (to the west,) come to the Old Hwy 71 (yellow highlighter on the paper map) and then manage to find the hiking "trail" for Courthouse Rock, highlighted in orange on the paper map. I also uploaded a photo of the "SLOW TRAFFIC USE PULLOVER SIGN." But then we never came across the "LARGE GRAVEL PULLOUT" according to the map. We saw a large gravel pullout 'before' the slow traffic sign. So, not sure what to make if that. Good luck, and watch out for the rattle snakes that others have mentioned!

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Scott Berman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 7, 2020
HikingOver grown

great trail. Uphill all the way to get to courthouse rock. Lots of interesting features on this hike with a waterfall side trail. This trail is better for people experienced in hiking or used to hiking on unofficial/not well marked trails. There is a rock outcropping on the hike that you can walk out on that has great views but there are several rattlesnakes in that area that I saw, be very careful in that area.

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Abbie Houck
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJuly 6, 2020
HikingOver grown

The hike was not to hard to find, we used the map the whole time to stay on the trail. The waterfall did seem to be a little to the left from the trail on AllTrails. Pretty good incline. Encountered one rattlesnake on the overlook rocks, but it rattled to let its presence be known. We did not see any people. Good hike for a fun adventure and to get away from all the tourists!

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