Ramsey Cascades, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4.7
#8 of 12 in Nature in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Embark on the rather challenging hike to Ramsey Cascades, where water rushes over a set of boulders in a picturesque veil. Don good hiking shoes and clothes, bring lots of water and snacks, and follow the narrow stream up towards the top. On the last sequence of the hike you'll have to cross two log bridges, so exercise caution, especially if there are kids with you. Take a dip in the pool at the bottom of the cascades, or simply soak in the pristine forest setting. Plan your Ramsey Cascades visit and explore what else you can see and do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park using our Great Smoky Mountains National Park sightseeing planning website .
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Ramsey Cascades Reviews
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4.7
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  • Ramsey Cascades is a beautiful trail and we experienced snow as we made our way to the top. Great hiking shoes are a must, as the trail is very rocky. Also like others have said, the rocks are VERY sl...  more »
  • Ramsey's Cascades is a 12 mile, strenous hike through the GSMNP, on the East side of the park, in East Tennessee, to the cascades (from GSMNP website: Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the p...  more »
  • This is definitely a strenuous hike and not for children. Waterfall at the end is beautiful, but the hike itself is no where near as scenic as Alum Cave, also considered a "strenuous" hike. Ramsey rou...  more »
Google
  • This was a great hike. The first half isn't so bad, but it picks up steam and gets pretty strenuous the last half. We hiked at a pretty good pace and it took about 2.5 hours up and about 1:45 back down. The waterfall at the end was well worth the hike. We went in the fall when there wasn't as much water, but I imagine that in the spring it is probably gushing. If you are careful there is a way to the top in the woods to the left of the trail, but you want to be careful because people have died there. Great trip.
  • Good hike - the payoff is well worth the effort. We spent just over 5 hours round trip and ate lunch at the top. The trail gets more and more rugged as it climbs (only the first half is up hill, the trip back is much easier) and there are several neat job corps-type bridges and benches along the way. This trail is not for the faint of heart! This is a pretty serious trail - I definitely recommend sturdy boots, a first aid kit, and enough food and water to sustain 6 hours of activity (my wife and I both emptied our 3 liter hydro packs). Grab one of the sticks at the trail head or bring your trekking poles too - this is not a good place to turn an ankle.
  • This was a challenging hike for sure! Took my husband and I nearly 4.5 hours. The first mile and a half is a cake walk, then the next 2 miles are pretty rough terrain. The last stint is even tougher. You think you'll never get to the top and then....there it is! The 100 foot waterfall!! It's amazing and totally worth the trip. Wear good shoes, be prepared for lots of uneven terrain, bring water, snacks, a positive attitude and have fun!
  • Not a hike for the weak physical ability or out of shape. Age for younger hikers with parents may be about age 9 or higher, any younger than that, and you may be carrying your child after awhile. Do not wear deck shoes, flip flops, or sandals. Hiking boots or rugged running shoes work. Path width is comfortable, you can wear shorts. Also there are two longer slab span footbridges with the with a single side handrail spanning the river. If you are afraid of heights the first slab span bridge height could pose a problem. Hike gets harder and more rocky towards the top and it turns almost into a boulder climb. There is a 2.5 mile marker where the trail splits into a circle, so you just have to keep hiking until you get there. Once you cross the river again over the large rocks you are almost to the cascade. Two bears came out from the left path at the base of the falls during our visit, one was inquisitive the other bear was not and made a run for it down the rocks of the falls.
  • Great hike with an awesome view at the end. I think it took us around 2 hours each way to get to and from the falls.

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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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