Explore the most popular nature trips trails near Townsend with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Beautiful hike on a true nature trail complete with all the natural rocks and roots. Falls at the end was beautiful. Highly recommend.

For the serious hikers only. Lots of covered, tight forestry to go through. we started backwards and did 3 miles up first instead of ending it that way. Glad we did, made the ending to the falls well worth the intense hike and challenge. Not recommended to go alone.

Went here on a day while exploring Cades Cove.  My biggest advice is: hike it in the morning because of shade.  Lots of the trail is uncovered, so in the late Spring it gets very hot.  It is a longish trail that is up and down both ways.  The waterfall was nice, but the payoff compared the cost of the long hike isn't there for me.  If you are already doing Cades Cove then yes go ahead and do it, but I wouldn't make a special trip to this hike.

This trail is a very nice trail to hike on any day of the week will do it more

Strenuous on a hot day. Not easy by any means. The trail is very rocky and there is no view until you get to the top. There was a massive amount of bugs at the top. There must be better hikes in the Smokies...this is the only one I have done.

Great family hike. My 2yo toddler was able to hike for 2 hours straight. Bring enough water.

10 days ago

Solid trail. Lots of varied terrain. The waterfall was pretty crowded but otherwise no complaints. Worth the walk in the end though. Saw lots of butterflies, insects and deer. My wife got an awesome shot of a deer in the creek so that was pretty cool.

Beautiful waterfall, tough little trail, up n down

scenic driving
19 days ago

Great drive with spots to pull off and take pictures!

20 days ago

Loved this hike! Great scenery, peaceful sounds and a nice workout. We saw lots of butterflies, soaked our feet and met friendly folks. Well-maintained trail that will definitely help you burn some calories.

23 days ago

It was raining and there was very little traffic, so we were happy. There are lots of wildflowers and greenery on the trail if you're into botanicals. The waterfall is pretty cool, just pack water and a snack it's a great walk through the woods. We had lunch at the waterfall and drank a liter of water each.

scenic driving
24 days ago

Lots of cars but it was still nice. Saw a mamma bear and two cubs napping in a tree.

not to crowded, easy walk with two children, falls are beautiful, well worth it

wow what a wonderful hike

28 days ago

I've done this hike quite a few times during different seasons of the year. It's been busy in summer and winter. Summer is best for swimming. Winter is great if you're interested in seeing part of a frozen waterfall. I went today....it's been raining for the last 4 days, and it rained during the hike. The Falls were so cool, overpouring with water. The places people usually sit were under water. Hardly any room to sit and relax. The trail was also extremely wet.

29 days ago

Trail is fine, pretty darn well worn. Waterfalls are pretty massive and sweet. Fairly crowded.

1 month ago

We did Chestnut Top to Schoolhouse Gap and it was absolutely beautiful. Wildflowers everywhere and beautiful mountain views in the Spring as you hike the ridge. We saw a deer and fresh beer poop (but no bears). We are moderate hikers and the way up was a tough hike and 8.6 miles roundtrip.
Beautiful hike for not having a waterfall. Beautiful mountain views of Townsend and the Smokies.

Trail was nice. 2.5 miles to a small waterfall. nothing to brag about.

1 month ago

The route is quite challenging, though there is never a part of it that is overwhelming or very steep. It just steadily climbs and climbs and climbs. It gains over 4000 ft, and that’s rare to find among trails. The view at the top is amazing, like something out of lord of the rings. When I hiked, the upper elevations were sans leaves, but wildflowers were coming through. The one thing I wish were featured was a greater variety of landscapes. Most of it was through similar looking forest until the Appalachian trail. I would do again for the challenge. Plan accordingly: I would allocate 6-7 hours if you want a nice break at the top.

My review is from the perspective of an amateur photographer.

I only did the first half mile of this trail because I was looking for wildflowers in mid-April in the Smoky Mountains National Park. In that first half mile I encountered at least a dozen species of flowers and have posted them.

In my opinion this is one of the top 10 wildflower hikes in the NP in terms of variety and ease of hiking.

Start with this hike. If it’s too hard then you probably don’t want to do the other wildflower hikes. But if you do it, you won’t be disappointed in the variety of flowers you find

This loop takes you back in time. It never ceases to amaze me what our forefathers were able to accomplish

1 month ago

This is a great hike for the whole family but not small children

1 month ago

Great trail. Saw a young black bear in a tree about 1.5 miles in.

Very disappointing! Barricade prevented even getting close to the sink/waterfall. If you struggle you can almost hear the water falling down past the barricade. Hiked back to the fork and went to the cave. Guess what ? Another barricade. You can see the bars over the cave, the big metal boxes and the solar panels. You can't even get close enough to see that a cave exists. Hiked back towards the meadow and guess what ? A sign saying to not enter the trail with downed trees deliberately placed to block the trail. You can see the wildflowers blooming about 100 yards away. About the ONLY thing you can see on this hike is the dozens of cheesy Stay on the path signs. It was a shame that this wonderful park location has been smothered.

Trail is diagonal from the building, see photos.

This is the perfect trail for those who want to see mountains & waterfalls but don’t have much time. I wouldn’t recommend this trail to anyone without sure footing due to the amount of roots and slick spots. I saw a few older folks turn back because of it.

I would definitely do this trail again.
Great for kids!

1 month ago

For starters- this trail is only 5 miles.

The route to the trail is on Cade’s Cove Loop “scenic driving trail” so there are tons of people, cars, dogs (which are not allowed), stop & go SLOW moving traffic.
Turn right onto gravel road past site 10 & before site 11.

There are so many people on this trail that it ruins it. Very touristy. I recommend checking out other water falls just as beautiful as this one instead (see Conasauga). We knew this going into the hike, so we chose a Wednesday morning and it was still so crowded. Over 100 cars parked at the trailhead by the time we left.

I will avoid every trail along this path from now on. It takes an hour + to do with cars constantly stopping and going and all tourists who likely aren’t hiking.

My 12 & 13 year boy and girl kept the pace up as we completed this hike in 2 hrs and 20 minutes with 10 mins at the falls and 1maybe 20 mins along the trail. We went March 25th after a rainy night. Volume of water alone made hike worth it. Our 5 star hike is Alum cave to Mt. LeConte we did two days later.

great for familes. we hiked in with 3 kids 8 and under. they did great and we had lunch by the falls. quick 2 1/2 hr round trip..and that includes an hour by the falls exploring.

Great trail ! Recommended for first timers.

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