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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.

hiking
4 hours ago

Great trail. Between moderate and hard if you are a moderate level hiker. The falls are amazing. Absolutely gorgeous and enough room around them to be spread out and enjoy a quick snack. Walking the majority of the way up next to the downstream is refreshing and makes for some nice views. Get there early if you want to be alone. Took us about 1 hr 20 up because we stopped for a number of pictures.

hiking
16 hours ago

Nice hike. Trail is well maintained. Uphill all the way but rewarded with downhill back. Lots of people on the trail. Waterfall is worth the trip. A lot of options to sit and enjoy the view before the return trip

hiking
muddy
rocky
1 day ago

hiking
2 days ago

Great Trail, I would call it moderate. Slow and steep incline, beautiful waterfalls, log bridge. Shaded with large trees all the way. It took us 4 hrs in total.

hiking
2 days ago

Fairly easy hike. We traveled with two kids (11 and 7) with very little experience and they had no problems reaching the waterfalls. There aren't many spectacular views along the way, but the falls are worth the trip.

hiking
3 days ago

Mountain trail to scenic waterfall that will cool you down after a long uphill climb on the slopes of Mt. LeConte. Parking has become impossible, so you can imagine the trail crowd. The Smokies are beautiful but be prepared for humidity and rain, making for slippery rocks and roots.

hiking
4 days ago

Really nice hike. Awesome views.

hiking
great!
4 days ago

Great Trail, really is worth it. Great spots for scenic shots of mountains and waterfalls. We hiked with a 4yr old and a 6yr old. We bribed them with candy and it was still a bit rough. It's a fairly rocky trail so I was very pleased to have high ankle boots, I'm also clumsy. It's easy to follow and heavily trafficked. If you are hiking with young ones then I would prepare wisely, we found our kids limit for hiking (5.5 mi and 1,600ft of elevation), but to see them smile in awe of the waterfall was worth it! PS - we got there at 930am and the parking lot was full. get there early, also make sure you don't get blocked in on the side of the road like we did!

hiking
great!
5 days ago

Man what an awesome trail. Get there early though as the lot was full at 8 AM and had to park down the road a bit. Steep incline the entire way, we took it slow, it is strenuous but doable. The payoff is well worth it. Have the river following you for a decent while, then multiple waterfalls and bridges, the falls are absolutely beautiful. Not too many people when we got there, but lots coming up as we were going down. Took us about 3 total hours round-trip. Good test for a novice hiker.

hiking
6 days ago

Nice, steady incline the entire way up. Spent about 30-40 min at the top by the falls. Busy but expected for holiday weekend.

hiking
6 days ago

Beautiful trail. I would call it more moderate than hard. It is a steep incline but you don’t have to scramble rocks to get to the top. There are rocks and roots jutting out so wear good shoes. Beautiful falls. The mist hitting you is the best part. We went late afternoon so temps were nice and there was a cool breeze on our hike. We are in pretty good shape and keep a steady pace. It only took us 1 hour and 20 minutes to get up there and took pictures along the way and stopped a couple times to drink water. However others said it took them hours. We almost stepped on a rattle snake coming down. He let us know he was there. Be careful.

hiking
6 days ago

Very interesting trail going through a variety of ecosystems. To start, you are in the woods next to a rushing river with gorgeous views. As you climb, it gets more arid as you get above the tree line. The higher up, due to the misty waterfalls, it feels like a rainforest. The hike itself is hard with continuous elevation gain. It took our family about 3.5 hours to complete. My watch said we climbed approx 67 flights just to give a perspective. The way down we were caught in a torrential downpour so we may have scrambled down a bit quicker.

7 days ago

3.5-4 hrs if you're moving, solid hike but significantly faster/ easier if wearing proper boots. Great photo ops at the falls if you're willing to scramble some rocks... well worth it!

hiking
rocky
8 days ago

My family of 6 completed this trail. Kids that walked it are 6, 9, and 19. I carried our 1 year on my back. It wasn’t an easy trail by any means but the the end result at the waterfall was so worth it! Pictures don’t even do it justice!

hiking
8 days ago

Hiked this trail today (6/30/20). We were all very pleased with the waterfall at the top! Worth the hike. Trails are wide and there is a decent incline on the way up but descending the hike was a lot easier. When you get to the falls, climbing up to the large waterfall was fun and had nice views and flatter rocks to eat snacks/lunch. We hiked on a Tuesday and it was pretty crowded. Granted we didn’t start hiking until 1:00. I’d rate this more of a moderate-level hike compared to other hikes we’ve done. Also: weather was forecasted as 50-60% chance of rain all day and we did not get rained on at all!

hiking
muddy
rocky
8 days ago

Great trail-with a great waterfall! Saw a black bear about 100 feet off trail on the way down. Did this hike in July, so bring plenty of water. Incline to different waterfall stops with a steady downhill back to the vehicle. Best waterfall/hike in GSMNP.

hiking
8 days ago

Family friendly trail with moderate ascent and great views. There is a 20-30ft waterfall maybe 10-15mins prior to the actual Rainbow Falls(~80ft) just in case someone gets to that one and thinks they’re done. Did this trail twice over the past week, saw a bear the second time down near the beginning of the trail! I’d consider this the best waterfall trail in GSM from those I’ve had a chance to do (Grotto, Laurel, Rainbow, Cataract)

hiking
muddy
rocky
9 days ago

It was my first time hiking so I thought it was pretty intense. The incline is what makes it hard but the falls were well worth it

hiking
great!
9 days ago

hiking
muddy
9 days ago

Great trail! Good workout, great views and wildlife and to top it off the falls are beautiful!

hiking
11 days ago

The hardest part of this trail is the persistent uphill, but the views are worth it. Don’t let the reviews saying this trail was very hard scare you off. I did this trail in the afternoon after hiking 2 other trails and could still do it. It wasn’t very crowded in the afternoon which was a pleasant supersede. It took about 2 hours and 10 minutes (active hike time), but there are plenty of places to rest along the way if you need to. It is 2.7 miles of uphill without any flat spots, but your waterfall reward at the end is amazing and you can climb right up next to the falls. We also saw a bear on the trail!

hiking
rocky
12 days ago

This trail is 2.6 miles of constant incline on the way up. There is a smaller falls before the large falls. They are both beautiful. The hike is only hard because of distance and incline. Dont let the hard rating scare you off.

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful hike- but go early if you want the falls to yourself. This hike will be a challenge for some hikers as the initial hill isn't so much steep but relentless for the first 1.8 miles. Then it lets up for about .2 miiles before being relentless again until just before you arrive at the falls. I hit the trail at 6:20 AM Wednesday and was the second person there- though the other hiker was on his way down. I got about 10 minutes of the falls to myself. On the way down, I passed some 200 people. So if you want some solitude on this awesome hike, be there around sunrise.

hiking
rocky
13 days ago

The falls were certainly worth the hike! It is steep and rocky so be prepared with good footwear and water!

hiking
bugs
muddy
rocky
13 days ago

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