Rainbow Falls Trail

MODERATE 662 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

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

bird watching

forest

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

muddy

rocky

snow

no dogs

hiking
3 days ago

My wife and I did this beautiful hike on our 25th Anniversary and loved the adventure. Rainbow Falls is a beautiful view and worth the elevated hike.

3 days ago

It was very wet and muddy, but would definitely do it again.

hiking
muddy
6 days ago

hiking
blowdown
bridge out
muddy
no shade
rocky
snow
8 days ago

hiking
14 days ago

The first part of the trail is breezy but then you hit the incline with mud. Going down was a challenge on the knees. Wear good fitting boots! Beautiful waterfall with several smaller ones on the way up. Took us with kids - almost three hours. Trip down takes a fraction of the time. Bring water and use the toilet at the parking lot because there is nothing at the top!

hiking
muddy
19 days ago

Trail is about 2.65 from parking lot to the top. I hiked this today 2/3/19. It is 60 outside. You need hiking boots, wear layers, gloves and a hiking stick. There is a lot of debri and down trees at the start that you have to maneuver around.

A mile in it starts to get muddy. And you will be sweating. Keep going. 2 miles in it becomes more muddy and icy. This is where the boots and hiking stick become helpful. The rocks are very slick covered in ice. There is water run off. Some of the lower falls are covered with fallen tree debri. The top falls was pretty frozen but still beautiful.

Be careful with small children. The bridges are very narrow as they have been redone.

I made it from start to finish in 2 hours 35 minutes.

hiking
muddy
snow
20 days ago

hiking
22 days ago

We did this hike last summer and it was stunning. We had to navigate around a couple of rattle snakes and a bear. But it was all good!!

hiking
muddy
snow
27 days ago

Great trail, get some places are very icy and others are muddy at time; at this time of year, I recommend trekking poles at least. Took us about 3.5 hours to complete aa young active adults. Had a great time, nice scenery, not too busy this time of year.

muddy
27 days ago

1 month ago

Started hiking at 12p with snow flurries and reached rainbows at 1:20 in 1/2ft of snow/15 degree temp. We stopped for a million pictures, spent 15 frozen minutes at the falls and returned back tonour car at 2:40. I can’t say how the hike is in warmer temps but this made for an unbelievably breathtaking winter hike. The snowy falls was nothing short of breathtaking. We loved every second of this 5.5mile hike and would do it again in second. This would be a great hike route to le conte as well if you’ve already seen alum cave. Parking was easy, trail well maintained, not steep at all. Saw every level of fitness hiking even in the rough winter weather

hiking
1 month ago

Great trail with majestic views about 1/2 mile in. Beautiful in the snow but be sure to wear good waterproof hiking boots as it has a few small streams to cross. Falls are impressive. A few trees have fallen over trail.

hiking
muddy
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful hike, wear hiking boots not tennis shoes! Bring water and a snack for when you get to the falls, it is well worth the hike. We live in Iowa and the trail was difficult for us but we made it!

hiking
1 month ago

A really fun hike with some great scenery. I would recommend starting the hike early around 7 o’clock maybe 8 o’clock; this is what I did and I had the whole trail to myself until I was on my way down.

1 month ago

We went after a big rain and it was very muddy and slick most of the way up. Beautiful scenery with fishing creek beside you for much of the way.

1 month ago

HARD in the winter time! I’d recommend wearing proper hiking shoes and clothes. The views are amazing. I got to see 1 buck and a few squirrels. I made it to the little water fall.

1 month ago

Great hike! Be prepared for mud and ice!

2 months ago

Beautiful the whole way through, with the river running parallel for the first bit of the hike and several smaller falls along the way. Loved the wooden and rock bridges and saw a few deer as well. It was raining during our ascent, and because it’s highly trafficked, it resulted in a muddy mess on the way down. This trail is very rocky and I highly recommend proper footwear, especially with the rain and mud. Great trail but would be better once it dries out in a couple days. The waterfalls were huge though because of the rain!

2 months ago

This is a scenic trail with lots of great views. However, it is extremely muddy and slick. I would not recommend it as a trail run.

hiking
2 months ago

Even though it was super cold it was still an awesome hike!!! Snowing at the falls and it was gorgous!!! Closer to the falls the ground and rock crossings were icy. But it was still a great hike!!!

2 months ago

Was very steep! The beginning along the water in the woods was beautiful. Waterfall not impressive. Much more abundant falls in North Carolina.

2 months ago

Easy and pretty

3 months 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
3 months 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
3 months 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

3 months 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.

3 months ago

Fun hike great falls

4 months ago

Beautiful however quite difficult

backpacking
4 months 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.

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