Grotto Falls Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4.7
#2 of 21 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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4.7
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  • The morning we drove up to the trailhead we saw a bear off the side of the road! Parking can be tricky. The hike was pretty easy for our family, kids 12&14. The falls were gorgeous and you can walk be...  more »
  • Moderate hike that can be difficult because of the roots in some places. Wear hiking boots and carry water. No restrooms and not for the handicapped. The falls are beautiful and you can actually walk ...  more »
  • What a surprise to see the Grotto Fall after a 1.4 mile hike. This trail starts at the Roaring Fork motor trail and there's not a whole lot of place to park. The hike is described as easy but I myself would rather go by on average for all tree roots that you must dodge. After a steady climb up to see where enough is come in to this ' small ' waterfall. To be honest is the Grotto fall more beautiful than the Laurel fall (also very nice) the water really clatters down and you can walk behind it (yay!)
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  • 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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