Many people make a point to visit at least one of the Smoky Mountain waterfalls when they visit the park. Although most of the waterfalls in the Smokies are a short hike away, Meigs Falls is one that is visible from the road. Meigs Falls is located 12.5 miles from the Sugarland Visitor Center and is a stunning 28 foot fall. The easiest fall to reach on foot is Laurel Falls. It is only a 1.25 mile (2.5 round trip) walk on a trail that is both paved and relatively flat. It’s a small price to pay for the reward of seeing Laurel Falls’ beautiful 60 foot cascade.
Another waterfall within a short walk is Grotto Falls. The 2.5 mile round trip trail winds easily through a hemlock forest to arrive at a lovely 25 foot waterfall. Grotto falls has the distinction of being the only falls that one can walk under. A slightly more strenuous hike is to Rainbow Falls. It’s a five and a half mile round trip on a moderate trail, but the reward is an incredible 60 foot waterfall. The highest waterfall in the park is Ramsey Cascades. The hike to the falls is eight miles (round trip) of moderate to active walking, but the waters of Ramsey Cascades plunge a dramatic 80 feet.
At 150 feet, Mingo Falls is the highest waterfall bordering the park. It’s also the shortest walk. The trail to the falls is only a quarter of a mile, mostly stairs and can be a bit demanding. However, Mingo Falls is a spectacular sight, especially after a heavy rain. One of the most popular waterfalls in the Smokies is Abrams Falls. Located in Cades Cove, it is a moderate 2.5 mile (5 mile round trip) walk from the loop road to the falls. Abrams Falls, an enticing 20 ft. waterfall with a large swimming hole at its base, is a crowd pleasing picnic and swim ming area in the summer months. There are many other Smoky Mountain waterfalls, but these are some of the better known attractions.