Grotto Falls Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4.7
#2 of 21 in Trails in Tennessee
Hiking Trail Nature / Park
Winding its way along a 4.2 km (2.6 mi) round-trip route, Grotto Falls Trail offers you the chance to walk behind a waterfall--the only opportunity to do so in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The path through old-growth forest makes the hike relatively easy, as it's a straightforward climb aside from some protruding stones and roots. You'll find another waterfall on your way to the trail's namesake. Once you reach the 7.6 m (25 ft) tall Grotto Falls, continue following the trail to find yourself behind a curtain of cascading water. Be sure to wear proper footwear and watch your step, as the surrounding rocks can be extremely slippery due to the constant moisture. Put Grotto Falls Trail at the forefront of your travel plans using our Great Smoky Mountains National Park tourist route planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
674 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • We hiked with 2 adults and a 7 and 11 year old. Bring a first aid kit because the trail is almost entirely covered in tree roots, mud, slippery rocks, etc. My kid fell at the top of the falls and I wa...  more »
  • I recently hiked the Grotto Falls Trail while on a vacation with extended family. We had 11 people in our party, aged 7 to 52. We all really enjoyed the hike, it's a pretty moderate hike with reasonab...  more »
  • We went on a Monday in late July – even arriving late morning the parking lot was completely full and had to wait for a spot. It was a very busy day for families and some groups of camp children. The ...  more »
Google
  • Loved this hike. Some have said it's an easy hike but it's pretty strenuous and has many inclines, rocks and roots along with fallen trees. It's definitely doable though, my 6 and 8 year old were able to do it. Very fun, interesting and great to do it. The waterfall was definitely the highlight. Just remember a couple things, after 9am on most days, parking is very difficult to find. Take plenty of water and wear ankle support shoes.
  • This is my second time I've been there. I would seriously recommend to anyone. I see people of all ages hiking this trail. It's pretty easy to hike. & the waterfall is gorgeous. I love just sitting on the rocks enjoying the view and some snacks. & all the people that hike are so kind and friendly. It's easy to get to. The only issue is parking. I went on Wednesday around 12 and it was pretty busy, but nothing too extreme. Just had a little extra of a walk no big deal. 10/10 would recommend to visitors and locals! Definitely a must see.
  • I have a few issues with my back and leg so I wasn't sure if I could do the hike. My husband and I also had our 6 and 4 year old grandsons on the hike. The hike did have a few places we had to watch to continue on our journey such as a few large tree roots to walk over, some slippery rocks to walk through a few low water creeks We just walked in the water instead of walking on the large rocks). We did not bring walking sticks so we located a few down tree branches and made our own. I would recommend to get a walking stick. It helped. We even spotted a black bear and her Cubs coming down. What an adventure. Do It! It is worth the hike. We took a few breaks along the path up the mountain to the waterfall. It helped
  • 1.4mile hike to the falls wasn't bad even for a 6 and 8 year old. Took us about 30-40minutes to get there. Had an amazing time! Highly recommended.
  • This is a moderate difficulty trail with big rewards at the end! My favorite falls! I have been there several times and it's always a little different every time. Trail is not paved and can be a little difficult in places. Water runs over the trail in creeks after some rainfall.

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Where to stay in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, choose between developed campgrounds where you can pitch your tent by your car and access restrooms and showers, or more primitive vehicle-accessed campgrounds. The park also offers accommodations in a permanent structure at LeConte Lodge, which is accessible via five different hiking trails. (There is no car access; you must hike in to use this lodge.) For a wider array of lodging options, stay in Gatlinburg. Serving primarily as a resort gateway to the park, the town offers various styles of accommodation, from national chain hotels to mountain lodges to small inns. Most places lie within 8 km (5 mi) of the park's entrance.
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