Rainbow Falls Trail

HARD 497 reviews

Rainbow Falls Trail is a 5.5 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

DISTANCE
5.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1653 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

backpacking

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

no dogs

hiking
16 minutes ago

Challenging but a fun trail. Hiked this with my wife and daughter, neither have been hiking for some time but still made it. It still has burnt trees as a reminder of the terrible fires from 2016.

4 days ago

Hiked yesterday. It poured with light rain throughout the entire trek. Beautiful misty waterfall at the end, at the second log bridge (you can't miss it). Saw very few other hikers thanks to the weather.
This is a great hike if you want something slightly more challenging. However, anyone can do it if you just go at your own pace.

hiking
12 days ago

I loved the trail. My wife and I along with our 4 year old son completed the trail on today 4/8/18. It was cold and snow everywhere. We are from Florida so the snow was absolutely amazing to see. The trail starts out very easy and becomes more difficult further in. Wonderful memories made.

hiking
13 days ago

My wife and I walk the Rainbow Falls Trail and found it to be very difficult. I am 65 years old and am way over weight. The trail started out easy enough. It was wide with only a slight incline. As we continued our walk the trail became narrower, rockier and steeper. It took all I had to make it to the top and back down again. I found coming down much more difficult than going up. I was happy I did it.. The trail lost one star because the falls itself was not very spectacular. It is the journey not the destination.

16 days ago

New to hiking or out for a walk- this will be work. Used to hiking and/or younger, this shouldn’t be too difficult.

hiking
18 days ago

great hike. I do this one almost every time I visit the Smokey Mountains. 5.5 miles isn't exactly correct, I measured 2.80 miles one direction to make it 5.6 miles. I also wouldn't call it hard. My 4 year old just finished it with no problems. I would say that it is a moderate difficulty. The work that they did over the winter really shows. the new steps were beautiful. this is one of my favorite day hikes on this side of the country.

19 days ago

Really fun and enjoyable trail. It's honestly not very difficult. If you enjoy waterfalls and constantly walking through running water, then this is the hike for you!Some of the rocks are a bit slick so, be cautious while crossing over them. The trail is somewhat busy but, not too bad. It's a pretty quick hike, about 4 hours, including sitting down for lunch.

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike for visitors newer to Great Smokey Mountain National Park! The trail has some elevation change and crosses streams at multiple points. Would recommend sturdy shoes simply because of the exposed rock and roots along the trail. Some mud along the trail, but nothing unmanageable. The Falls were great because of the recent rainfall.

hiking
20 days ago

Great hike. The falls were pretty full because of the rainfall lately.

26 days ago

Amazing hike

hiking
30 days ago

Snow and ice on the way up and slush and mud on the way down. It was great!

hiking
1 month ago

Great half-day hike. Not difficult, but harder than its 5.5 mile and 1600 feet of elevation would have you think. Steady climb that is rewarding with a great waterfall payoff. Hit the waterfall just after midday to get some of the best photos with the sun at your back but be careful to not arrive too late as parking is limited. I added an extra quarter to a half mile having to park farther down the road. Lots of people parked along the road, with no real fear of towing as long as you got far enough off the road.

hiking
1 month ago

My birthday hike! A crisp 32 degrees in the morning! Snow and ice after the footbridge made for a interesting trip back down from the falls. Temps warmed up enough to thaw out the froze mud which made it as slick as the snow and ice! Loved it!

hiking
1 month ago

We started the trail while snow was still falling and it was around 25-28 degree outside. I couldn’t believe we climbed up for 1,000ft from trailhead to rainbow. It didn’t seem to be that much to me though. It was very slippery and frozen in last mile. We had to crawl over the big rocks to get up to the fall. Bring spikes if you have them. They will help a lot in the icy condition. When snow was melting, trail got super muddy. I got hiking shoes so it didn’t bother me much. People going with me in sneakers was struggling little bit. Overall, the fall wasn’t that impressive to me but the surroundings along the trail is fun and beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

did this trail may of 2017, loved it a little difficult, but really fun. On the way down saw three deer on the trail and almost could reach out and touch them, they were standing that close it was awesome

1 month ago

Beautiful trail. Some areas have big rocks that you have to sit and swing around to get over. If it’s a dry season the waterfall will only be a trickle with no rainbow.

1 month ago

Nice trail! Hiked it on 5/8. Rocks and the incline to the waterfall make it challenging. On a good day I don’t think it would to hard. The rocks would make it challenging for anyone who wants to attempt to run it. The day we hiked it was in the upper 20s to 31. Trail was snow covered and had lots of ice so that made to challenging and slow going, but the snow made the trail and waterfall look like a beautiful white winter wonderland!

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Well laid out trail. Fairly easy if you exercise regularly. I highly recommend wearing correct hiking gear. The multiple areas of water accumulation make rocks and mud slippery in certain areas. Worst part is the trail is extremely well traveled and crowded. Waterfall at the end is amazing! There are a few small waterfalls on the way up that keep you entertained, but keep going until you see a large number of people crowded around the falls with a sign that says no climbing on rocks!

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Not super strenuous but not easy. Small waterfalls along the way and following a river. Gorgeous waterfall and great areas to climb/scramble around on some rocks!

hiking
1 month ago

Great experience. we did it on Jan 4th so the temperatures were in the teens ☃️❄️.

hiking
2 months ago

I disagree with the mileage data. My Garmin GPS recorded this at 6.51 miles and elevation change of 1573 feet making this a 12% grade or averaging 600/mile. Awesome hike. My son was 8 and out hiking me. I had to keep telling him to slow down. I stopped lookout for bear. With burned stumps everywhere it looked like black ears. I bet this was amazing before the fire.

2 months ago

Great day hike! Not hard, more moderate if your in relatively healthy shape. Gradual but completely uphill, with some switchbacks. Easy to follow.

2 months ago

It was a very fun scenic trail. One my favorites

Absolutely beautiful. The higher elevations had fresh snow. It made for a great Saturday morning hike.

2 months ago

We hiked this trail yesterday. Not a hard hike, but definitely not for beginners or young children. It was a steady incline the entire way up. The falls were beautiful and well marked with a sign. There are 2 stream crossings towards the end, which were tricky with the snow and ice. It was extremely muddy and heavily trafficked on the way back out. I recommend wearing good waterproof shoes you don’t mind getting muddy, take snacks, and get an early start.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful muddy hike today!! Mud then muddy ice.....now just ice! We didn’t bring ice shoes or spikes which were most definitely needed for this hike today. We are coming back this summer to play so more! Well worth the hike!

3 months ago

beautiful! it was co eres with snow and ice.

hiking
3 months ago

had the trail to myself at the end which was nice. even with the mud and ice patches i dont think it should have been rated hard..

had more fun not using spikes >;^]

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail. EXTREMELY muddy after last week’s snow and ice and yesterday’s rain. The falls look amazing when they’re frozen. Would love to come back and see them in spring/summer when the water is flowing. Not that difficult but the mud made it real sketchy in some parts. Took about 4 hours with a break for lunch at the falls and lots of picture stops. Gaiters and trekking poles suggested if you have them.

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