6 of the Best Hiking Trails in Gatlinburg for Waterfalls and Scenic Views

Grotto Falls near Gatlinburg.

Do you want to hike a mountain and see an amazing view at the top? Do you want to awe over a huge waterfall along the trail? Seeing these sights in nature is unlike any other experience! If you want to experience the amazement of seeing an amazing view of mountains in the distance or watch water gush over the side of a rock formation, you’ll definitely want to check out these hiking trails in Gatlinburg:

1. Alum Cave Trail

While you can use Alum Cave Trail to hike to the top of Mt. LeConte, you don’t have to continue past the concave bluff! To reach the bluffs, you’ll hike 2.3 miles along the trail, which is considered difficult. Along the first part of this hiking trail in Gatlinburg, you’ll see plenty of rhododendron in the early summer. Throughout the trail, you’ll come across other scenic points, including Arch Rock and Inspiration Point where you’ll be able to see some pretty awesome views of the mountains. Once at the top of Alum Cave, you’ll also have incredible views of the mountains. Even if you don’t continue to Mt. LeConte, you’ll love this hiking trail!

2. Baskins Creek Falls

The beginning of Baskins Creek Falls is just right outside the town of Gatlinburg. You’ll have to climb a fairly easy hill starting out on the trail. The land will flatten out, and during the early spring and late fall when there’s hardly any foliage, you’ll have a great view of the mountains and Gatlinburg. Then, the trail veers downhill, parallel with the stream. When you’re closer to the falls, the trail gets steep. Once at the top, you’ll be able to see Baskins Falls. It has 2 tiers and stands at 40 feet tall. This hiking trail in Gatlinburg is considered easy with a 4.8-mile roundtrip.

3. Chimney Tops

Top of Chimney TopsThe Chimney Tops trail is well known for its amazing mountain view. This trail is 3.6 miles roundtrip and considered extremely difficult since it’s mostly uphill and you gain 1,200 feet in elevation in such a short distance. At the beginning of the trail, you’ll walk across many foot bridges and see wildflowers during the spring. Due to the wildfires in 2016, the last portion of the trail has been closed indefinitely, but the trail now has an outlook at the new observation top that overlooks the chimney tops. You’ll definitely want to check out this hiking trail in Gatlinburg!

4. Grotto Falls

If you’re looking for a waterfall hiking trail in Gatlinburg but with a unique twist, you’ll definitely want to head to Grotto Falls. You will hike through a large forest of old growth, mostly eastern hemlock trees. During the spring, you’ll come across tons of wildflowers, like white and yellow trillium, Dutchman breeches, and stitchwort. You’ll also walk across 4 small streams and some footbridges. Once at the 1.5-mile mark, you’ll see Grotto Falls. It stands at 25 feet tall, and the unique feature of this waterfall is that hikers can walk behind the falls. The area around the falls should be traveled with care since algae and mist make the rocks slippery.

5. Mt. LeConte

Mt. LeConte in the Great Smoky MountainsYou’ll find there are plenty of ways to reach the summit of Mt. LeConte, but no matter how you get there, the view from the top of the mountain will blow you away. Each of the trails leading to the top of this trail is considered extremely difficult due to the elevation gain. The panoramic views of the mountains is definitely worth the hard trip! Here are all the ways you can take to get to the top of Mt. LeConte:

  • Alum Cave Trail – 10.7 miles
  • Boulevard Trail – 15.6 miles
  • Bullhead Trail – 12.8 miles
  • Rainbow Falls Trail – 13 miles
  • Trillium Gap Loop Trail – 14.9 miles

6. Rainbow Falls

If you want to see the tallest waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains, you’ll want to hike to Rainbow Falls. This waterfall is 80 feet tall and gets its name from the rainbow created by the mist around the falls. To get to the waterfall, you’ll hike through a boulder field and across foot bridges. You will also find stretches of flat areas, perfect for picnics! This trail has a roundtrip length of 5.4 miles and is considered moderate in difficulty. You’ll love this trail and seeing the tallest waterfall in the Smokies!

You’ll find plenty of hiking trails in Gatlinburg with cool features, like waterfalls and scenic views of the mountains. If you’re looking for other fun things to do while you’re staying with us, browse through the attractions you can visit for free when you stay with us!

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