Rainbow Falls Trail

MODERATE 569 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 moderate. 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

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

no dogs

Trail is currently open Friday-Sunday. Temporarily closed Monday-Thursday excluding federal holidays. Trail is set to re-open on weekdays in Fall 2018.

hiking
39 minutes ago

Bring plenty of snacks and water

hiking
1 day ago

Was worth it for us. We went in the spring and it was cold. It was also just after a large snow storm, so the snow was melting and we got a gorgeous view of the falls! Hiked with my 11 year old and he did great! Took us 2.5 to get up and 1.5 to go down. Several smaller falls along the route as well.

2 days ago

This trail was relatively easy. Other trails we have been on became part of the terrain, whereas this was a “trail” the whole way. Rainbow Falls was beautiful- wished we had seen a rainbow! Worth the view for the distance of the hike. We enjoyed it!

hiking
4 days ago

Great hike but definitely more on the difficult side going up. It had recently rained so there were parts that were very muddy. We passed a lot of people that had slipped and almost slipped ourselves a few times. But if you’re up for the challenge, it’s a beautiful hike, shaded in most parts with pretty water scenery.

hiking
6 days ago

Nice trail - easy to follow. Not a lot of people since it’s a moderate trail and out to the falls is all up hill. The top of the trail is really nice with the water fall to see and rocks to sit on to enjoy the scenery. Definitely recommend good shoes and water for the hike. About 3 hours for approx 6 miles.

hiking
11 days ago

This trail is pretty tough if you aren’t a seasoned hiker. The trail is a steep incline to the falls. The waterfalls along the way are pretty as well. Rainbow falls was beautiful at the end of the trail but it had rained recently. Coming down was much faster but took us 3 hours of hiking to do this trail there and back. Nice hike.

17 days ago

little on the steep side for 2.75mi up. no Hard, a bit strenuous if your not in Hiking shape. beautiful stream crossings , bridges and falls.

hiking
20 days ago

I hiked this trail early(7am), we were the only people on the trail and at the falls for 40 min. I found the trail to be moderate instead of hard and thought the work they have been doing on the trail amazing. The stone bridges were a surprise. Water and hiking boots are your best friend on this trail.
Tips: arrive early for a parking spot, no bugs and less people.
walking poles help
hiking boots instead of flip flops
dont cut across the switch backs

20 days ago

So I would not rate this hike as "hard." I would rate it "moderate." The terrain itself is very easy. The trail crews have made very nice natural steps and are working on more. The entire trip up is a slow, steady incline. The way down is the opposite, of course, so be prepared for that. You can see some of the burned mountain tops, and there are 2 small waterfalls on the way. Once you get to those, you're almost there. My boyfriend and I went in late afternoon (5 maybe?) and got out around 9. The parking at the trailhead is nice and there is a bathroom. There weren't a ton of people on the trail. There were some older kids and there were some healthy-looking older individuals. I think the waterfall view was definitely worth the trip!

23 days ago

The falls were worth the hike!

hiking
24 days ago

My wife and I visited during Fall break 2017. The best hike we have been on so far. We enjoyed it even in the rain. The water fall was awesome to see. It was well marked and very easy to follow. Definitely doing it again.

hiking
24 days ago

Somewhat difficult at parts but so worth the amazing views!

hiking
28 days ago

Great 5.5-mile hike to beautiful Rainbow Falls and back with smaller water falls and running water along the way. Hiking shoes are a plus if you have them. Getting to the falls was well worth the uphill trek that takes at least 1 1/2 hours at a moderate pace. We’re from flat Florida and fairly fit, but still found the hike challenging. Enjoy!

29 days ago

Absolutely loved it!!! It was somewhat difficult but It is all worth it once you get to the waterfall!

29 days ago

Great family hike. 3hours round trip. Make sure to get there early. Was crowded on the way down and not much parking. closed monday-thursday to work on trail.

hiking
1 month ago

The trail has a slow elevation climb to the top of the falls so you never have to worry about a steep climb. Hardest part of the trail were stepping over large rocks/tree roots. Trail is well maintained. There are some creek crossings so if it rains heavy the day before, you may get your shoes wet. We got to the trail at 9am and it wasn't crowded, took us 3 hours round trip and on the way back there were lots of people. I'm your average couch potato and I made the hike, but plenty of people were stopping along the way for breaks. Keep in mind there are some small falls you'll see along the way, so if you don't feel like you can make the journey and want to turn back, you will have still seen some beautiful scenery.

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail, well maintained, and the payoff of seeing Rainbow Falls at the end is totally worth it. Note that the trail is currently closed for maintenance Mon-Thurs through the summer 2018 season. We hiked this with family ranging in age from 7-70. It took us a little under 4 hours round trip, but that includes a long stop at the falls and a bunch of snack/water breaks for the kids. We started around 8am Amy's it wasn't crowded at all on the way up but as we were heading down we passed about a zillion people just starting out on the hike. Definitely pays to get there early.

hiking
1 month ago

it was the best hike I've had in a while i took about 200 pictures lovely nature.

1 month ago

My cousin and i brought our bathing suits and played in the water awhile. my aunt and uncle packed a lunch. I strongly recommend heading up early, as it gets hot! I will say that we saw a bear on our way back down!

1 month ago

This trail is closed due to a rockfall.

1 month ago

Beautiful trail and falls. Such an amazing day.

hiking
1 month ago

This was a beautiful hike. Definitely a good workout and as others have said, crowded, but it sure is beautiful when you get there.

1 month ago

Loved the end result

1 month ago

This was a very scenic Trail. We had a great time. Make sure you make it to the second waterfall. It is much more spectacular. Difficulty level: I think it was moderate, my wife says difficult, we completed the trail with 2 11-year-olds and 2, 8-year-olds. Spectacular waterfall. A must see. However it Will be difficult for the once a year hiker.

hiking
1 month ago

GREAT trail! Hiked it yesterday, May 26, 2018. It’s uphill the entire way up, but most definitely worth it!! Makes for a super easy hike on the way back. ;)
I would call this a “moderate” hike. They are closed Monday - Friday, except for holidays for improvements. Definitely a wonderful weekend day-hike.
Absolutely LOVED it!❤️

hiking
1 month ago

The trail was a great one to start with and get your shoes muddy. However, I found the trail to be a little on the boring side. I say this only because I have been on so many trails and in comparison, this trail doesn’t have anything that stood out to me. The falls at the end was pretty neat but there were so many people I hardly got a chance to enjoy it. If you haven’t hiked a lot in the past- do it! If you have been elsewhere and have hiked in areas like RMNP or GNP, don’t expect that “wow” factor at the end.

hiking
1 month ago

This was the best hike I’ve ever been on. Very surprised at how beautiful the Great Smoky Mountains were. We had to cross numerous points where the falls went over the trail. We had to take off our boots and wade through the freezing water. We felt super accomplished once we made it to the spectacular falls at the end. Beautiful scenery throughout and very rugged. Had a great time!

hiking
1 month ago

Excellent trail. Varied terrain of forest, rocks, and vegetation. The falls were awesome as well. It is a bit strenuous if you're not experienced, but definitely one of my favorites yet.

hiking
2 months ago

Scenic hike along the creek. Several small waterfall areas. A little crowded if you're looking for seclusion but the falls is worth it.

2 months ago

Really nice trail though definitely a workout. No holes in the trail and awesome views. The waterfalls at the top are worth the hard work!

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