Grotto Falls Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4.8
#2 of 61 in Trails in Tennessee
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. See Grotto Falls Trail and all Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer by arranging your trip with our Great Smoky Mountains National Park online trip itinerary maker .
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Grotto Falls Trail Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
743 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • This hike was definitely worth it. The 1.4 mile hike (one way) is mostly uphill through the Trillium Gap Trail. There are not bridges to cross the little streams, so you need to use caution to get acr...  more »
  • Parking can get crazy here so i would recommend getting here early. we arrived really early (7am) but a thunderstorm popped up so we left and came back at noon by that time parking was scarce. Hiked t...  more »
  • Today we hiked up to Grotto Falls and it was worth it. The falls are amazing and you can walk behind them. The hike itself is not that hard. I do recommend that you get there early because the parking...  more »
Google
  • This was a good hike. The waterfall is pretty awesome and you can swim there. The hike is moderate. A lot of roots but trail is wide enough. When we went there were a lot of people on the trail. Also a big black bear walked right in front of us on the trail. He layed down on the side of the trail and was licking a bee hive in the ground. Pretty cool experience for my daughter and her friend on their first hike.
  • A wonderful 2.8 mile round trip hike. The incline walking in is gradual enough to allow almost anyone to hike this trail. The grotto fall and smaller ones walking in were gorgeous and you are so high up. There were a lot of people there, but it wasn't too crowded to enjoy. All the kids made it with no complaints. Almost the entire trail is shaded, so it made the hike that much more enjoyable.
  • Excellent hike. Some parts have a good deal of roots to navigate and others have a lot of rocks. Overall well traveled trail allowing for easy following to the falls. After the falls it does get a bit steeper. The falls are a great spot for a break and pictures. You can climb behind and under the falls. There are several small drops below the main falls making plenty of other picture and rest spots.
  • Its a nice waterfall but personally I felt its not worth all the hike. Its not a big waterfalls but nevertheless it's perfect for getting great pictures especially standing behind the falls. If you are lucky you could see llamas carrying goods up hill to the only lodge in the Smokies. You could take wonderful pics if you can get onto the stones in front of the falls.
  • My favorite hiking location in the Smokey Mountains park. Located on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail it's an easy to moderate 2.6 mile hike. With the only thing that makes it slightly difficult is tree roots and some rocky terrain. I would not recommend flip flops but I do see people who were them. You steadily climb up to the falls the first phase of the hike. Then descend back to the trail head parking area. Which is good because it takes less energy on the way back. Most of the trail is shaded so I wouldn't worry about bringing sunglasses. I seem to bring mine every time and then end up not wearing them lol. The falls and pools of water at the end are amazing. You can wade in the water in a few areas of the creek and at the main waterfall. The spray from the waterfall is cool and refreshing after the climb up. You can also walk behind the waterfall. This makes a great family photo shoot location. Overall a great adventure for both young and old.
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