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Grotto Falls Trail is a 2.6 mile heavily 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, walking, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from April until November.

Length 2.6 mi Elevation gain 534 ft Route type Out & Back

Backpacking

Hiking

Nature trips

Walking

Forest

River

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

The Trillium Gap trail is closed until November 12, 2020 Monday through Thursday for rehab, but the closure is past the waterfall and does not impact the out & back route of this trail. An easy to moderate hike that is popular with families. The highlight is Grotto Falls, under which the trail continues. Accessed via the Trillium Gap Trailhead, this is a cool, well-shaded hike with gentle elevation gains. The only difficulties are numerous rocks and roots that just require you to watch your step.

16 parking spaces. Overflow requires a lot of patience or creativity since you are on a narrow, one-way road. Restrooms are in the parking area.

From Gatlinburg Parkway, turn at Light 8 turn onto Historic Nature Trail / Airport Rd. After about 2/3-mile, Keep right on Cherokee Orchard Rd., entering Great Smoky Mountain NP. Drive another 2.2 miles onto one-way Cherokee Orchard Loop. Drive 0.9 miles before right turn onto Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The parking lot is on the left side after about 1.6 miles.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (1521)
Photos (1078)
Recordings (1147)
Completed (4191)
Kait Budnik-Wojtkow
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 09 2020
Hiking

I’d say this is more easy than moderate. There is an incline but it’s very gentle. Built in stairs along the trail. No scrambles or big rocks to navigate. Best part of the falls is you can sneak under them. Second half of the trail past the falls was out when we visited otherwise would have continued one. This fills up fast starting at 9am and the crowds do not stop - parking on the motor way past the lot is tricky and crowded.

peter ferenz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 08 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Very nice trail. Get here early if you can being it's a very busy trail. Like specified before there are many rocks and roots as well as a decent climb to the falls. To get to the main waterfall there is a minor scramble you have to do. This is an a really nice waterfall. Go early or late to get the best experience.

Sarah Jane
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 08 2020
Hiking

BEWARE!! If you at all care about not contracting COVID-19, please, PLEASE avoid this very busy trail. We hiked the trail this morning with our son and started when it was not at all crowded. By the time we were looping back, the trail was packed with hundreds of people NOT wearing masks and refusing to social distance. WAKE UP!!!!! COVID is REAL!!!!

Mel Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jul 07 2020

Easy trail, albeit a constant upward incline. Very well maintained. Falls are pretty, and worth the effort.

Conni Baidel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jul 07 2020

Tough trip up hill but totally worth it. Get there early as it is a super busy trail. The waterfall is beautiful and walking behind it is an amazing experience.

Miguel Calanche
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking

Great intro - intermediate trail. Amazing views the whole way. Waterfalls in the end are very worth. Saw a little snek on the way up.

Peter Venetianer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMon Jul 06 2020
Hiking

Extremely crowded. Water fall is ok.

View Peter's Recording
Anna Fernandez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSun Jul 05 2020
Hiking

Nice moderate trail, with rewarding waterfalls at the end. Highly trafficked

Connie Baldy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

Very pretty waterfall, you will want to start this early, as it is highly trafficked! The 1.4 miles in, is literally up hill the entire way, but very nice, well marked trail! Beautiful fall and pool at the end. :)

View Connie's Recording
Sid A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

It is an easy hike ending at a beautiful fall. The directions and well marked and easy to follow. Not a dog friendly hike.

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Soozin Lewis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSat Jul 04 2020
Hiking

beautiful!

Facundo Atencio
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Beautiful waterfalls

View Facundo's Recording
Carlos Casadevall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Trail is very nice and is quite a moderately difficult hike

View Carlos's Recording
Matt Kirkpatrick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

GO EARLY. 7:45 am and parking was full. Or get lucky with someone leaving.

View Matt's Recording
Mark Shahaf
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFri Jul 03 2020
Hiking

Nice easy trail to the small fall. moderate incline, stairs, not much scrambling. best to get there early as everyone says. I started around 6:30 am, had a parking spot and about 10 minutes of "me time" at the falls for pictures. hit the trail back around 7:40, the trail started to get busy up. got to the car and saw people were already parking close to a mile down the road from the trailhead.

View Mark's Recording
Kristina Ellis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarThu Jul 02 2020

July 2, 2020: This is a busy trail, though it is not nearly as crowded as I thought it would be given previous reviews. It is a very easy incline and it is short. My kids 10, 7, and 5 didn't have any trouble. Because it is short, it attracts non-hikers who don't necessarily practice trail etiquette. The waterfall and all the stream/pools below are a lot of fun for kids. We went later in the afternoon and it was shaded the entire way.

Rose Thompson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
Hiking

Lots of traffic for a weekday! Nobody observing social distancing and few wearing masks or practicing basic trail etiquette

View Rose's Recording
Tara Bejai
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarThu Jul 02 2020
Hiking

Recommend hiking this trail early.

View Tara's Recording
Timm Hahn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020

completed July 1 2020 with Angie Luka Lauren Lucas and Natalie.

Emily Rooker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Really nice easy trail that my whole family enjoyed - even my mom with an Achilles injury and my little sister who is a total novice hiker accomplished this without any struggle. Nice waterfall at the end, we took a little dip with our feet and the water was very cold. Nice photo opps.

Nate Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarWed Jul 01 2020
Hiking

Trail was very well-maintained and highly trafficked. The trail I thought was just okay, but the waterfall at the end is so gorgeous it’s completely worth it.

Michael Triggiano V
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 30 2020
Hiking

Very busy

View Michael's Recording
Kohly Hawkins
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarTue Jun 30 2020
Hiking

2020.06.20: Grotto Falls - Great trail for families and kids. Shorter trail and not super steep on the way up, really good views of the streams and hollows on the trail. Nice, small waterfall at the "top" that has some good photo ops. Saw a couple chipmunks and squirrel along the trail. This trail is heavily trafficked, about 3-4 feet wide on most places and a solid dirt path. Since the fire there is a lot of undergrowth that has gotten pretty thick. I'd recommend hitting this trail early as it's gets a lot of visitors. We arrived around 8AM and had to park about a half mile past the trail head. Trail was very, very busy after 10AM and parking was full. If you're not early, expect to add a little (0.5 mile at least) uphill hike to the trail head.

View Kohly's Recording
Michael Pawlik
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

Definitely worth a hike, especially for less experienced. I was with someone today who is not an avid hiker, and they did fine. Still, don’t consider this easy. After all the recent rain, the water is moving! Was a little busy, but not horrible. Not a ton of panoramic views, but good scenery and the waterfall is a great payoff.

Kelley Hicks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
HikingMuddyRocky

June 29, 2020. Awesome trail up hill all the way. We saw a black bear right by the trail 10 feet away. really pretty falls.

View Kelley's Recording
David Hicks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020
Hiking

June 29, 2020. Nice trail, but crowded today. Saw a younger black bear feeding at no farther than 10 yards off the trail. The trail from the falls to the LeConte Lodge is closed today, otherwise would have hiked in to the top and escaped the crowds.

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Liliana Campon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMon Jun 29 2020

Fun, challenging trail for an amateur like me! Shaded all the way and the waterfall is beautiful. Seemed to be heavily traffic, lots of people at the falls when we arrived. Got some great photos!

Kelly Spencer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSat Jun 27 2020

Good introductory hike to the park. it's very busy however. the waterfall was nice, but crowded. Major undergrowth on the forest floor, very pretty. I would not do it again simply because of the amount of people. The hike is easy, maybe moderate for those out of shape as there are inclines on the way to the falls.

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