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5 Hiking Trails with Waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains

May 20, 2019 September 18th, 2020
hen wallow falls

Hiking is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the Smoky Mountains. There’s plenty of trails where you can see wildflowers lining the trails in the spring or amazing mountain views once you reach the top. For something that’s just as incredible, you’ll want to try hiking trails with waterfalls! You’ll be amazed by the height, beauty, and water force of these natural features. Look at these 5 hiking trails with waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains:

1. Cataract Falls

cataract falls in the great smoky mountainsIf a short hike is your thing but you still want to see a waterfall, hike to Cataract Falls. The trail is only 1 mile long and is easy for kids and elderly people who want to go on a nature walk. Water trickles down a rock formation, creating a beautiful waterfall everyone who hikes with you will love!

2. Hen Wallow Falls

Right outside of Cosby, you’ll find the Gabes Mountain Trail that will lead you to Hen Wallow Falls. This trail is 4.3 miles roundtrip and considered moderate. Hen Wallow Falls is 2 feet wide at the top and fans out to be 20 feet at the bottom, creating a beautiful cascade. It stands at 90 feet tall. The flow of water over the rocks is especially incredible after a full rain.

3. Laurel Falls

laurel fallsLaurel Falls is one of the most popular hiking trails outside of Gatlinburg. This trail is paved, making it easier than other trails to hike. It is 2.4 miles roundtrip, but some of the trail is right along a steep drop off. If you bring children with you, you should keep a close eye on them. Once you reach the top, you’ll see the amazing Laurel Falls, standing at 80 feet tall. A foot bridge cuts the waterfall into an upper section and a lower section. You’ll be able to walk close to the falls and take amazing pictures.

4. Fern Branch Falls

For one of the more moderate hiking trails with waterfalls, go on Porters Creek Trail. Settled right outside of Gatlinburg, this trail is on an old gravel road. Along the trail, you’ll walk past a ton of wildflowers in the spring and an old farmstead. Take the lefts at both junctions, and then you’ll get to Fern Branch Falls. This waterfall stands at 60 feet tall, and water flows over a wall of rocks for a beautiful view. You can turn around or keep going for about another 2 miles to get to campsite 31.

5. Ramsey Cascades

ramsey cascades in the great smoky mountainsAs the hardest trail on our list of hiking trails with waterfalls, the Ramsey Cascades Trail has a roundtrip length of 8 miles. Once at the top, you’ll see the Ramsey Cascades. This is the tallest waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains and one of the most impressive. Water runs over 100 feet of rocks into a pool where you might be able to spot salamanders. Signs are placed around the falls to warn hikers to not climb on the rocks around the falls. You’ll definitely want to hike this trail again after seeing the cascades.

These are just some of the amazing hiking trails with waterfalls you’ll find on your visit. For more of the best waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains, read our blog, “4 Smoky Mountain Waterfalls That You Absolutely Need to See.” If you’re wondering where to stay while you go on your hiking adventures, make Pigeon River Campground your base camp!

You might have a hard time deciding which hiking trails with waterfalls you want to go on first! Also, you might be wondering what else you can enjoy doing outside when you visit the Smoky Mountains. Book a trip to white water raft with us for a fun, memorable experience your whole group will love!