Rainbow Falls Trail

HARD 325 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
1686 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

hiking
11 hours ago

The trail itself was really great, but many people were doing dangerous things at Rainbow Falls and Turtle Back Falls. This kind of put a cloud over the whole trip. Still a great hike.

hiking
5 days ago

Beautiful scenery, especially at the falls, but lots of areas burned by last years fires. Not fond of out-and-backs, but still enjoyed this. Coming back down is the hardest part, wear good hiking shoes.

5 days ago

Lots of people.

5 days ago

A very nice mountain hike with interesting flora and good views. Few crowds in the early morning in mid-March, but it started to get more crowded later on. By the time we got back there was no space left in the small parking lot. The waterfall at the top is stunning, though some hikers we passed were confused by a smaller waterfall about 2/3 of the way up. Keep going - when you get to the real one, you'll know it!

hiking
7 days ago

Very busy trail with a few water crossings. Waterfalls are nice will be very crowded on nice days.

hiking
11 days ago

Completed this hike round trip in approx 2 hours at a fairly brisk pace. Gradual incline entire way up so you will definitely be out of breath by the time you reach the top. The falls at the top were amazing! You can hike right up behind the falls if you climb over the rocks. Trail is currently only open Friday-Sunday so the car park was packed, would recommend not going on a Saturday so the trail is less crowded.

11 days ago

12 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

We were in the Smokey Mountains for a week in April. It was beautiful. While there we got a few of the tourist pamphlets that mentioned some of the local hiking trails. This one was rated as Easy. So me and my husband asked my dad if he wanted to come. He said it sounded short and the description said it would take about 2 hours in the pamphlet. It lied about everything. It took us 7 hours. Me and my husband hike as often as we can but after reading the pamphlet we had NO IDEA what we had gotten ourselves into. It was just about straight up the whole way. The views were great. The first half of the trails you could really see the fire damage but once you actually started going UP the mountain it turns all lush again. It was beautiful. I won't ever make this hike again. My dad was a trooper though! We were hobbling by the time we got back to our hotel! Glad we packed lunches for just in case since the pamphlet was obviously mixed up on Rainbow Falls trails being only 2 hours. Maybe if you sprinted up the mountain and only stopped halfway. There were plenty of places to stop and refill your water. Going up wasn't so bad, it was coming down will wreck your knees so be careful! We did see a deer in the burned area of the trail. He came right up to us! Dad was eating an apple so that may be why but it was pretty cool.
We believe there was a running joke the whole way up the mountain. No matter WHERE you were at anyone you asked about how far the waterfall was always said 15 minutes. Overall it was a great hike. I would say check here before doing any hikes there because all the descriptions for the hikes in the pamphlet I got at the Walmart tourist area were way wrong. The falls were outstanding. I do recommend doing it if your in the area and have plenty of time. I naturally walk fast but I honestly don't see how people get this done in 2 hours or less unless they are literally running. This was also a very very busy trail. We shared the trail with a ton of people.

18 days ago

19 days ago

walking
22 days ago

closed as of May 30

hiking
25 days ago

Was a fun day hike to the falls. Would recommend to all.

hiking
26 days ago

Great trail; loved its Falls are beautiful. Fire damage was an interesting surprise. Only negative was too many people who didn't know hike etiquette. I will do again but not on the weekend!!!

26 days ago

Ran this trail in May, and absolutely loved it. It took about an hour to run up to the falls and about 30 minutes to run back down. There was some fire damage on the lower parts of the trail but mostly off to one side, and did not impact the beauty. Saw a huge black bear in the parking lot after the run, made my day. Would have given it 5 starts but for the fire damage.

1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

1 month ago

really great hike experience. i was hoping for it to be a bit more of a challenge than what it was. But, smiled the whole way. huge snowflakes, beautiful waterfall at the end. very nice experience!

1 month ago