Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

MODERATE 83 reviews

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a 10.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until November.

DISTANCE
10.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,454 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

road biking

scenic driving

walking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

To access Roaring Fork, turn off the main parkway in Gatlinburg, TN at traffic light #8 and follow Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance to the national park. Just beyond the Rainbow Falls trailhead you have the option of taking the one-way Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (clos

scenic driving
1 month ago

Beautiful, easy drive! We loved the falls on the side of the road. We went at about 5 pm and found very little traffic. The directions definitely take you to the “out” end of the drive! We would definitely take this drive again.

1 month ago

Love driving this motor trail. There’s so much scenery and places to pull over to walk around and see the waterfalls and a few old historical buildings. Also Ely’s Mill at the end is a must visit.

1 month ago

Great drive through GSM.

That said, I’d avoid this during busy times...

2 months ago

Directions from this site take you to the "out" end of this mostly one-way route. The directions need to start the driver off Cherokee Orchard Rd.

backpacking
2 months ago

Very cool. A lot of spots to pull off the road and check out along the way

2 months ago

beautiful drive. great way to experience the park with kids, or those that are unable to make it for extended hikes. many opportunities for hikes based on this driving route too.

2 months ago

I have lived nearby my whole life and can't remember ever seeing this. It was really busy because of the weather and season, but still enjoyed stopping and walking around.

scenic driving
2 months ago

Always one of our favorite activities to do in the park. Make sure vehicle is in good condition.

3 months ago

Lots to check out. Relaxing place. More parking is needed, lots of trails to venture out to. Little store at the end very cute things! Awesome for kids lots of tree stumps, so many places to stub toes if not wearing the right shoes. Great family place!

mountain biking
3 months ago

IMOP, this paved motor trail is not for bicyclists as suggested at all, but is for “motor cars”. For cars, it is a beautiful drive....suggest newer vehicle... with less than my 300k mile Camry. I wanted to bike it but it was much too steep. Will go back for a hike on foot to many of the off shoot trails next time. Also, it is a one way trip and biking would be horrendous to try to make it back through Gatlinburg.

scenic driving
3 months ago

A great drive with scenic views.  If the mountains are a little too intense for you then this drive isn't as hard.  There are a few trails off this road, but mostly it's just for driving.  I would imagine in the Fall it is spectacular.  In early May when we went it was great too, bright almost lime green. There's even a waterfall that can be seen from the road.

nature trips
4 months ago

The trail road ride was amazing. Had beautiful views and many areas along the road to pull over and take in the scenes and take pictures. Then you can hike up Grotto Falls, which you won’t regret. The trail is easy and accessible to the falls. We hiked it during the month of May, 2018 and the weather was perfect, not hot and definitely not cold. The water at the falls was that typical cold mountain water that’s just waiting for you to dip your feet in, so yes, go ahead.

scenic driving
5 months ago

My review is from the perspective of an amateur landscape photographer

First I did this as a scenic drive. The Roaring Fork Nature Trail is one of the highlights of the GSMNP. I been at least 4 times. There are abundant wildflowers thru the month of April. There are scenic cabins. There are 4-5 pullouts with scenic creeks/rivers. And there is one scenic view of the mountains.

The only downside is the the road is VERY busy after Memorial Day and it’s also narrow. You can only park at the pull offs and sometimes that means you’ll need to walk back to the photo you want.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked up this road before it was opened for the season. Only saw a few folks. If going from Ely's Mill, the first 2-3 miles can be steep, but it's all paved and you can take a breather at one of the many beautiful falls. At the Thousand Drips waterfall, my young son climbed up into an deep alcove. We really enjoyed this hike.

Note that we did get a report of bears crossing the path ahead of us, but they were gone when we passed by.

8 months ago

Beautiful trail

scenic driving
10 months ago

This really is a great drive for all ages, but especially for those with kids. It's a fun way to see a good portion of the park, with a really nice paved one-way path.

We stopped and did a 3 hour hike on one of the many trailheads that are accessible on the road, and there are also many scenic spots as well as historic houses and farms to stop and get out at. Be sure to keep your eyes open the entire way - we saw a young black bear on a hill right next to the road!

10 months ago

really great. enjoyed every minute of it

10 months ago

This is a great motor trail. Lots of wildlife and places to pull over to take pics.

scenic driving
11 months ago

Very historical drive-cool cabins.

hiking
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wonderful motor trail. There are several points that you can stop along the way and explore, and that made it even more worthwhile!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Great trail! You drive this one though, so don't be confused and think it's a hike. You can pull off and do conventional hikes around it if you'd like as well. This is a one way road through a more secluded area of the park. If you go around 6 o'clock, it's a great opportunity to see bears. We saw 5 on our trip. Just drive slow and be on the lookout and you're bound to see something neat! Great for an end of the day activity once you're tired from hiking all day.

scenic driving
Saturday, July 29, 2017

Great little loop close to downtown. Saw some deer and 4 bears! Plenty of places to stop and get out and see things.

hiking
Saturday, July 29, 2017

We actually hiked a bit of the auto trail. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Gorgeous. Wish we had seen a place to get closer to the creek.

scenic driving
Monday, July 24, 2017

Roaring Fork Auto Tour is a nice one-way drive starting just after the Rainbow Falls trailhead with pullouts to enjoy waterfalls, historic sites, views, rhododendron and other flowers and plants, and places to just chill and get back to nature. We saw evidence of the Gatlinburg fires and saw rejuvenation as well. We visited a roadside tub mill where they used to grind corn into meal, as well as a medium waterfall called the Place of the Thousand Drips. Saw a deer as well as some wild turkeys, and later on some pileated woodpeckers - three of them! Enjoy the ride and don't forget to stop and experience GSMNP.

scenic driving
Thursday, June 08, 2017

still lots of fire damage but the cabins and old farm were nice

hiking
Friday, May 26, 2017

Many different levels of trails to hike or you can just stay in your car! Many places to park and get out to take pictures. When there are many cars it can take awhile to drive through so keep that in mind and be patient.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Amazing hike! Not an easy hike, did see a snake. But the waterfall at the top is worth it! You can actually walk behind it! Lots of little places to stop and see along the way too. Beautiful ride through the great smokey mountains. A must do for anyone who loves the outdoors!

hiking
Monday, April 10, 2017

Beautiful!! a place to come back to over and over indeed. Not easy, but very worth the trek.

hiking
Wednesday, March 01, 2017

some beautiful waterfalls and scenery

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Beautiful

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