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: 1,653 feet Route Type: Out & Back

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

no dogs

This trail is quite a bit more difficult that it appears. It's easy to follow, but nearly constant incline with pretty rugged terrain. Lots of wildlife. Parking lot gets full early. The trail continues after the waterfall and is much less trafficked at that point, so feel free to continue your hike if you like.

17 hours ago

You will be ascending for 90% of the trail, but views of the river and rocky outcroppings are beautiful.

hiking
1 day ago

beautiful hike that is indeed harder than it first appears. Straight uphill for >1500" but so worth it! There are several places with rock to sit and rest along the way if needed. Toward the end you start to see other waterfalls and may be tempted to say "good enough" but don't be swayed! Go to the falls - well worth it and lots of flat areas to sit and have a snack and rest before hiking back down. WELL worth the hike!

hiking
3 days ago

Busy hike but overall beautiful view

hiking
muddy
rocky
3 days ago

Steep climb to the falls. Hard work for okay payoff. No views along the way and too far from the river to see it well. But the path is clearly marked with solid footing for the hike. There are definitely better hikes in the area that offer more.

hiking
5 days ago

Great Trail! This is a gorgeous trail full of trees and a river flowing beside you majority of the time. It is uphill all the way, but not terribly difficult. There are a few creek crossings, rock scrambles, and logs; but nothing too hard to handle. There were many kids and dogs that seemed to be doing fine on it. Beautiful views! Don’t stop at the small falls, as many people were doing. Highly recommend!

hiking
5 days ago

Awesome trail! My husband and I chose this as our anniversary hike, and it did not disappoint. The trail is well marked with stone and wood steps, and the creek crossings are neat with big stepping stones and log bridges. There were lots of trees showing fire damage still, and we saw some old growth trees as well. The only reason we rate this trail 4/5 is the crowd. We began our hike around 7:30, and on our way back there were a lot of people hiking to the falls. Too crowded for our preference. Overall, this trail was great and has earned its difficult rating, but it’s worth it to see the beautiful falls!

hiking
6 days ago

I would not say too hard, just a constant climb. Good stone steps along the way. Following a creek most of the way, nice sounds of the water and birds. A few nice views about half way up. There is a small fall almost at the top but keep going another 200 years for Rainbow Falls. Really enjoyed this one.

6 days ago

A rewarding trail that has a decent level of difficulty. Go early - way too crowded for my taste as the day goes on. That's the only reason I gave it a 4 instead of a 5.

hiking
7 days ago

I would give 4.5. If you hike often, this is moderate to hard. Good hike with a great waterfall at the end that is worth scrambling up to get under it. Very busy on the weekends any time after 8am. I started at 6:30 and only saw 3 people but very busy com down. 3.5 hours round trip counting a long break at the top.

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
7 days ago

The trail was a bit crowded and buggy but the rainbow fall at the end was well worth the hike.

hiking
muddy
7 days ago

Great trail with great views of the smokies, recommend going early, I started at 8 and was dealing with a bunch of crowds on the way down.

hiking
7 days ago

The hike up to the waterfall was short, but challenging. The incline will get to you if you’re not used to it. My 50 year old father can do this hike. The running water when you hike up is so calming and you definitely see wildlife. I just feel like if it were longer and more views of the Smokey’s I would of given it 5 stars

hiking
9 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous trail that leads to a waterfall! Climb and go behind it :)

hiking
10 days ago

We started this trail since the road going to grotto falls was closed. It was a constant incline, but with the rushing river and beautiful green scenery, there were a lot of excuses to stop and rest. Our family of 7 (5 kids ages 10 to 20 months) had no designs to go the distance and turned around about 1.5 to 2 miles in. It is doable with kids, just rest often, bring snacks, and carry the littles on your back. Lots of people were on the trail and parking lot got full early. Definitely still recommend, even if not planning to reach the falls. Trail was surprisingly not muddy at all.

hiking
10 days ago

Great trail but don’t underestimate it. The climb up can be rough, but the waterfall is rewarding. The way back down will fly by.

hiking
muddy
rocky
10 days ago

hiking
11 days ago

First hike in The Smokies and I loved this trail! Beautiful!!!

hiking
11 days ago

Good trail. Beautiful falls. Don’t stop too early. Several people were turning around about 1/2 mile too soon at the river crossing with a small set of falls. If I didn’t have the app I would have turned around too. However my app said I trekked 3.2 when I reached the falls and 6.3 when I returned so something changed with the trail and it’s longer.

hiking
rocky
12 days ago

hiking
12 days ago

Cool trail waterfall was very cool. Very challenging trail if your not in decent shape it could be very difficult but the falls make it worth it

hiking
rocky
13 days ago

Great hike for streams and waterfalls. No good views of the landscape though (hence 4 stars instead of 5). Dogs can do this hike. Went off trail near the falls up the rock scramble to see if you could overlook the falls.. I would not recommend it, got pretty far up before I realized it would be near impossible. Great hike for a workout too, 7/10.. steep but not too steep.

hiking
13 days ago

Less people would have made this a 5 out of 5 stars hike. Take the “hard” seriously - wear good shoes and bring water. The falls are beautiful and lots of spots to sit and rest at the top.

hiking
14 days ago

Are the miles for this trail just on the way up, or does that include back down too?

hiking
14 days ago

First time hiking and it was fun. I was not prepared for it being hot so early. Next time I will know to take more things and another backpack. The trail was fun but a lot of walking. The waterfall was worth it and beautiful.

hiking
15 days ago

Intense. Definitely a work out. Nice falls

hiking
16 days ago

The trail can be rough going up. Usually when I see a trail under 3 mi I think it will be chill, this one was much more intense than expected. Luckily, we were prepared, but we ran into some people that were not in proper gear and did not even bring water. Don’t be those people! The hike back is all downhill and so easy and flies by! We were lucky enough to run into 3 deer. Great hike!

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