Rainbow Falls Trail and Cliff Tops Trail

HARD 6 reviews

Rainbow Falls Trail and Cliff Tops Trail is a 13.1 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October.

DISTANCE
13.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3838 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

walking

forest

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

no dogs

6 days ago

It kicked my backside! But what a trail. I went after several days of hard rain. The falls were very wide. Amazing location, so glad I made the hike. July 29, 2017.

hiking
10 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

Started about 8:30AM from the Rainbow Falls trailhead, and trail restoration would close the trail the next day. It was muggy and misty on the way up along the streams and through the fire damage. We were about a half hour ahead of a big group going up to Rainbow Falls, so had the trail much to ourselves, which was nice. It’s a nice climb up from the log bridge to where you can walk under the falls. Be careful and place your steps carefully as the rocks can be slippery. We descended back to the trail and left as the crowds arrived and headed up to LeConte and Cliff Tops. Once past Rainbow, we again had the trail to ourselves. This part of the trail is fairly uneventful except for a couple of stream crossings and through some beautiful wildflower stands. Don’t bother taking the Rocky Spur Overlook trail, as it was a waste of time – overgrown, no view and full of spider webs. The main trail joins the Bullhead Trail and heads left up to LeConte. Just before the lodge is a 0.2 mile trail to Clifftops to the right, which is a great place to watch the sunset. When we arrived 5 hours after starting from the trailhead, it was pretty overcast and clouds were drifting in and out. Luckily we were staying the night so planned to come back later after checking in and eating dinner. We just did make the sunset as the clouds cleared. Beautiful view and can get crowded during sunset, but we met a lot of nice folks, shared stories and had a great time. Can be done in a day, but plan for about 8-9 hours. If you are able, stay the night and look at the stars, share with other adventurers. Great workout and highly recommend this hike.

hiking
2 months ago

I had the day to myself so I decided to try some harder hikes, this was a workout for sure. It became foggy somewhere around an elevation of 4500 feet so I couldn't see the views, but the lodge at the top was interesting. Only saw one person on the way there, saw quite a few people on the way back.

hiking
6 months ago

Lots of rugged edges, awesome vistas. If you have a full day and want a challenge, do this one. I'll add some pics.

hiking
7 months ago