Mount LeConte via Rainbow Falls Trail

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Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Mount LeConte via Rainbow Falls Trail is a 13 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall. The trail is only recommended for very experienced adventurers and is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching.

Distance: 13.0 miles Elevation Gain: 4,002 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

muddy

over grown

no dogs

running
rocky
2 hours ago

Amazing trail. Ran as much of it as I could but had to power hike quite a bit in the middle. 1:48 on the way up with a couple of stops for picture taking. Rainy most of the way down. Hazy at the summit so I couldn’t see anything the best view is between 1/2 and 2/3rds of the way up where you can see the valley. Saw a momma bear and her two cubs near the parking lot at the end of my trek. Beautiful but slightly scary. 10/10 would recommend going with a small group. I went alone and partially wish I’d had someone to help me feel more confident around the bears. But here I am still standing to tell the tale!

hiking
1 day ago

I'm a man in his late 20s, physically in shape, not super athletic. Enjoy tough hikes. We hiked up Rainbow, had a beer at leConte lodge, kept on over the BLVD trail, got a spot in Icehouse Shelter, checked out Charles Bunion at sunset, next day we returned back early, got a morning coffee at the lodge, and then headed down Trilliam. This hike was TOUGH, but AMAZING. Several bears mid june. Gain up to LeConte was pretty darn tough! To get the most out of a weekend in the Smokes and for a really tough workout, I recommend this route. All parts were great

Great day at the Smokies

hiking
muddy
rocky
16 days ago

Amazing hike. Clarification: - Actual distance if you hit all extra paths: 14.9 miles - The full hike is open during corona Got amazing pictures. Linked them in the recording. Check it out if you want to see some of the highlights! It had rained hard the day before and was lightly raining throughout our hike. After we passed the falls (3 miles or so? there were lots of water streams on the actual path, as the paths carry water down the hill from the mountain. Be aware of this if you’re trying to hike after rain, you will get wet. That’s not a bad thing!

hiking
flooded
muddy
18 days ago

hiking
21 days ago

Very scenic trail, but definitely hard. I pushed it and got up to the top at 3:18. However it took me 3:50 to get down because I was so gassed. When you got to the cabins it was very confusing where the summit was. Got a couple blisters on the way down. Was very happy I brought medical tape and climbing poles. I bit off more than I could chew with this trail because it’s been sometime since I have gotten out.

hiking
rocky
snow
25 days ago

What an amazing hike!! Took us 7 hours and 45 mins with about a half hour break at the top and was a total of 16 miles. This is definitely the toughest hike i’ve done because of the distance and the fact that it’s straight up and straight down. There are little to no flat parts of the hike so be prepared to gradually go up until you reach the top. There was still snow on May 10 at the top so bring poles. Hiked this on a Sunday and there were a few groups that we saw but 90% of the time it felt like we had the mountain just to ourselves. Highly recommend this hike to those up for a challenge!

Awesome hike. A bit cold at the top

hiking
2 months ago

Great hike! Strenuous, but nothing crazy. About 13/14 RT. The waterfalls and trees were lovely and and view from the top is stunning. I very very very highly suggest traction spikes/device for your shoes. It is icy and snowy at the top. I wore regular running sneakers with the traction spikes ($17 Amazon Prime!) and buzzed past people up and down (probably saved 1-2 hours from going over ice safety and quickly). Bring lots of water, snacks, layers, and bandaids (I witnessed a few harmless slips and small cuts).

hiking
blowdown
icy
rocky
snow
2 months ago

Rainbow Falls to Leconte was very beautiful and not extremely difficult. Bullhead back to the trailhead was somewhat more challenging. There were multiple trees down but nothing that could not be navigated and the trail is very rocky in many stretches. Definitely a leg workout.

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing 320 degree view on Mrytle Point - highly recommend going the extra 0.25 mi from Mt LeConte. Spikes helped a ton as it was icy on the way down from a temp increase. Very easy trail to follow.

hiking
blowdown
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

did this trail on Feb 1st 2020...it is a solid climb the whole time but there was snow after rainbow falls (basically the second half of the hike), which made it slower but more fun at the same time

hiking
blowdown
flooded
icy
muddy
rocky
washed out
4 months ago

Please note we purposely hiked these trails in winter when we knew there would be snow and ice. This review is for informational purposes of those planning to hike during the same conditions. We took rainbow falls trail up. The trail is a difficult one. Past the falls which are beautiful, the trail isn’t as maintained and is more of a rugged hike with lots of rocks. You will need to climb over some rocks, cross streams without footbridges, and if it is winter you will need spikes for your boots. The last 1-2 miles of the trail are pure ice. Leconte and Cliff Tops are never disappointing. Be prepared for the wind on Clifftops. Enjoy a nice lunch- pack your favorite soup in a hydroflask and it will still be hot at the top! A warm meal and a winter wonderland do the soul well. We took Bullhead Trail down. This trail had more snow than Rainbow Falls trail and was almost perfect. The trail still suffers from the fire started on Chimney Tops in November 2016. Due to weather, most of the trees that were left standing had blown down. Many were across the trail. Some you can walk around but some will require climbing over or going under. Use caution as most of these trees are dead wood from 2016. A lot of the exposed trail (again due to the fire) was washed out from the snows. We had to cross several streams and one section of the trail was a small stream we had to walk in as walking the edge was not an option. This trail is a great option and I would hike it again. As always on winter hikes and any time in the woods, be prepared. Headlamps (even if it’s just in case), extra socks, hand and feet warmers, layers layers layers, micro spikes, trekking poles and plenty of food and water. Don’t forget your emergency kit.

hiking
blowdown
icy
rocky
4 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

This trail gets challenging past the falls. Check out the views from Cliff Tops once you Make it to the lodge.

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