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.

3 days ago

The walk in was steep and slippery in spots. Bridge crossings where slick and had ice. Snow closer to the Falls. Was worth the hike! 16,433 steps according to my watch. Recommend for those that want to see beautiful water falls. We did see a huge buck driving in. Then we saw a bear both going up and heading down.

hiking
9 days ago

Hiked this trail in the early morning hours of a Sunday (started at 8am) and half the parking spot at the trailhead were already taken. So go early. First half is a well-trod wide trail with a steady incline, but easy going; runs along the river with plenty of photo ops. Once you hit the switchbacks it does get a little steeper, but very doable with a steady pace. Falls are spectacular. We climbed up to them (despite a sign advising against it). =) Just be careful and use common sense. Pictures don’t do it justice. Beautiful hike in the fall with plenty to see.

hiking
9 days ago

Very awesome! I climbed behind the waterfall itself. It’s slippery and there are signs saying to be careful, but I’m a dare devil and was determined to do so. Hike itself wasn’t too challenging. Saw a deer, climbed up a fallen tree! Enjoyed it very much. Will do again

15 days ago

Very scenic hike. As other have commented, it can be a bit difficult for those that aren’t very active. Did the hike in the fall and was a little chilly and rainy. The fog that settled in made for an eerie, but memorable hike. Trail itself was well maintained.

17 days ago

Fun hike great falls

23 days ago

Beautiful however quite difficult

backpacking
1 month ago

Hiked all the way to the top of Mount Leconte. Beautiful but hard hike, mile markers are not exact, to get to the true “top” is more like 7-8miles but it is worth it! Go all the way to Myrtle point past the lodge, it gives you a 360 degree view of mountains. Many people hiked up and stayed at the lodge, my father (50) and I made it a day hike, doable but we were sore the last few miles down. The Bullhead trail was closed, we were going to take that down, but some locals at the top said the Rainbow is the prettiest anyway. There are a few shorter trails to the top from the gap if you want a shorter route to the top. Perfect time of year 10/13, get an early start though because the hike to the falls gets crowded with people in the afternoon.

1 month ago

Beautiful and well maintained trail. Lush forest.

walking
1 month ago

Was challenging for this out-of-shape hiker, but very beautiful and satisfying to reach the falls! Always love the interaction with other hikers along the way.

1 month ago

I loved this trail... challenging on the way up, beautiful falls, and you can hear the water running all the way up and back, which is peaceful. Take water, and watch your footing... slippery in a few places.

hiking
1 month ago

Very challenging as a beginner! Beautiful views, and worth a very hard hike to see the waterfall! Very hard trail with roots and rocks. Mainly up hill the whole hike. Great photography shoots along your way. Very crowded so parking was a challenge. Make sure to bring water, as my family did not listen to me and we had to share 1- 20oz water, by the cap fulls.

hiking
1 month ago

Spur-of-the-moment decision to get a hike in before we left for home... We had a great hike, saw a few deer, and just did get caught by a rain shower right before getting back to the parking lot... Very nice trail

2 months ago

A bit more challenging going up than expected, but we were also trying to keep a fast pace. Slippery in spots when coming down- hiking boots recommended if it’s rained recently. Saw a mother bear and her two cubs in a tree which was awesome! Pretty trail and pretty falls

hiking
2 months ago

Great trail and pretty falls. Just a warning...we were there yesterday and there was a fairly large and active yellow jacket nest in the ground right next to the trail. It’s maybe a half mile and those suckers were aggressive. I was stung a couple times and heard of others that were as well.

trail running
2 months ago

great trail! a little scrambling and ALL uphill! hiking is very manageable, but even the most experienced and fit runners will need a walk break! along the way, you can see remna ts of the fire that took place here but also the recovery, simply beautiful. i swear some of the trees here would compare to the Sequoia's in CA. the falls at the 2.5 mile marker are a welcome sight and resting spot...even managed to crawl behind the falls for a cool spraying! as stated only currently open friday-sunday and there are signs warning of bear activity. well worth the effort put in to see this gem!

hiking
2 months ago

This was a fun hike. Definitely take your time going up especially with kids. We had a 7, 9 yr old and two toddlers in backpacks... slow and steady was the rule. Took us about 5.5 hours with lots of breaks going up.

2 months ago

nice hike, good views, weak falls

2 months ago

really beautiful waterfall and hike

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing!!! be careful going down, there's a chance for twisting your ankle!

hiking
2 months ago

This trail was intense just sayin

2 months ago

The falls were absolutely beautiful and so was the hike. A lot of interesting rock formations, smaller falls, and a great view at one point of the trail. This would have been a 5 stars however: 1) it was very crowded, the falls are only open Friday-Sunday due to rehabilitation 2) people graffiti on multiple rocks 3) hard to get a photo of the falls without someone climbing near the falls and/ or sitting directly next to them. Overall nice hike but would do the hike earlier in the day or later when less crowded

2 months ago

A good hike and nice view

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike! It had some steep inclines that were tough on me at 4 months pregnant, but the destination was worth it!

hiking
2 months ago

Very well kept trail. Challenging but doable!

hiking
2 months ago

A good hike. Only opens on Fridays to Sundays. Mostly unpaved, with rain it could be a bit muddy. My 5 year old did it. It took a bit time to hike up, but coming down was a breeze.

3 months ago

little bit of a workout but totally worth it

hiking
3 months ago

Nice enjoyable hike, it took only a hr to hike up to the falls. The falls are well worth the hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Our first hike in the Smoky Mountains! Very scenic with a beautiful waterfall in the end! A little steep but a nice challenge. Our group ranged from 6 to 62 and we all enjoyed it! Will definitely do again on our next visit!

3 months ago

Fun family hike!

3 months ago

Pretty nice trail. Steep so it’s a little challenging. The falls were cool but not amazing

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