Laurel Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Categories: Waterfalls, Nature & Parks
Featuring numerous plunges and cascades, 24 m (80 ft) high Laurel Falls is divided into upper falls and lower falls sections with a walkway cutting through. The trail that runs through the falls provides an overlook. You can reach the falls, one of the most popular attractions in the park, from a 2.1 km (1.3 mi) paved hiking trail that is ranked easy to moderate--but take note that it is sometimes slippery. Be wary of the historic lookout tower at the end of the trail; it is considered too unsafe to climb. Put Laurel Falls into our Great Smoky Mountains National Park holiday planner and find out what's close by, where to stay, and where to head next.
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We hiked this trail (only about 2.5 miles round trip). It was considered a easy/moderate trail. It was paved, but the asphalt is breaking up in some places. It is pretty steep...you go up for a long w... read more »
This was about a 2.5 mile hike up a slight incline, on a paved path. I would not recommend this for small children. However, the falls make it worth the hike. This is a very popular attraction, so the... read more »
We walked to this with 2 young children (5&7) and we loved it. There are BIG drop offs along the hike, but we just walked with children in hand and we didn't worry about an accident. The walk was uphi... read more »
Firstly, I want to point out that these falls are very small. It is a pretty nice hike and there are great views, but it is not much of a waterfall. The hike is extremely long and Uphill the entire way. I wouldn't say it is expert level but it is for the physically fit. They also recommend not taking strollers , but I would say stroller should not be allowed on the trail. We did take a four-wheeled stroller and it was a very challenging situation due to the wash out on the trail. The actual viewing area for the Falls is extremely small and on a crowded day you were basically shoulder-to-shoulder with everyone around you.
Laurel Falls is a great hike. It's paved all the way although it does have a few rough spots that make it difficult to take a stroller. There are also steep dropoffs on the side of the trail once you are closer to the falls. It is one of the more crowded hikes so expect to see lots of people. It also amazes me how people just discard the trash wherever they please. I saw lots of empty water bottles along the path and even a diaper that someone threw out. The falls are very nice with water flowing most of the year. The rocks are very slick and the trail leads to the middle of the falls. So expect a drop off on the left and waterfalls on the right. The water is not deep enough for swimming so if you are looking for a place to swim this is not it.
This was about a 1.1 mile hike up to the falls. The way up is all uphill. If you plan on doing this quickly think again. Once you reach the Falls there are two levels which you can explore. When we went there were a lot of people probably more than I'm comfortable with. The place was beautiful. On the way down I saw a bear in the distance. He quickly moved away out of sight. But it was exciting to see.
Stroller Friendly(ish) - I wouldn't recommend a double stroller unless you have no other choice. A carrier or jogging/all terrain stroller would be best. While the path is paved, it isn't always in perfect condition. The path is beautiful, with few spots that make for a quick rest. The falls were a little busier than I expected (visited on a Sunday) but there was still enough room to enjoy and get a few family pictures.
Went two years ago and enjoyed it. Saw black bears on the trail. Most importantly, DON'T CLIMB ON THE FALLS PEOPLE!!!!! We saw multiple small children ENCOURAGED by their parents to climb the falls for a photo...stupid. One of the parents slipped and fell 10 feet into a pond at the bottom and was slow to recover himself. Had it been a child, he/she could have been seriously hurt or killed. The rocks are covered with moss and algae and are really slippery. Those children that witnessed the fall immediately started crying and would not come down.
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