Grotto Falls Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4.7
#2 of 40 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 .
Improve this listing »
Create an itinerary including Grotto Falls Trail
map
Grotto Falls Trail Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
743 reviews
Google
4.7
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
  • Very beautiful hike. Beware, the ground is muddy and tough in some places, but it took my husband and I (who are both very amateur hikers) about 3 hours to finish this. The roads to park closer to the trail were closed, meaning we started at a further trailhead. We were going at a pretty steady pace. The view of the waterfall is worth it at the end, and you can actually stand behind it!
  • One of my favorite hikes! My son could not get over how big the trees were (big for us). Suggest hiking in the early morning, can get crowded on a busy weekend. Pack snacks and be sure to bring water and a camera. Don’t forget to put you feet in the water once you reach the falls.
  • We have done this hike twice now and will definitely do it again. Second time we continued a couple miles up to Brush mountain and it was well worth it. It definitely gets a little harder than the initial hike to the falls but the view at the top was breathtaking. Very brushy and thick (hence the name) so don't expect a 360 view at the peak but there's some good viewing spots.
  • Fyi, the road to the trail is closed until May. We were excited to take our children on this hike but it turned into a 1.5 mile uphill on the closed road before we even got to the trail. There was still a mile to go and they were exhausted and no longer wanted to go. We ended up leaving. We ended up going to a cabin a little down the road and they had fun exploring there.
  • Gorgeous! The road was closed to drive up to parking so a short hike became a long one, but it was beautiful so we didn't mind. Views along the way were perfect. Going behind the falls was so fun! Getting engaged here was pretty fun too :)
Places to stay near Grotto Falls Trail

Plan your trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Best things to do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Plans to Grotto Falls Trail by other users

9 days in Pigeon Forge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 30 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA June, teens, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 9 days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Gatlinburg BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Pigeon Forge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, kids, outdoors, relaxing, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced 8 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM ISRAEL August, outdoors, beaches, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: August, outdoors, beaches, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Gatlinburg BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: August, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 15 days in Pigeon Forge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: April, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 38 days in Gatlinburg & New Orleans BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Blue Ridge BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, fast-paced, popular PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Fast-paced
View more plans