Grotto Falls Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

4.7
#2 of 41 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 .
Create an itinerary including Grotto Falls Trail
map
Grotto Falls Trail Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
715 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • It is all uphill, like a mile of uphill hiking. Falls were small...the only cool thing is that you can walk behind the fall.  more »
  • This is a moderate hike exceeding 500 feet in elevation & all uphill on the way up. It is definitely not an easy hike due to the numerous tree roots & streams to cross. Get a hiking stick as they are ...  more »
  • Great morning hike. Got there before too crowded. ( about 10am) Fall colors were gorgeous in early November. It's a somewhat challenging hike with exposed roots, slight uphill, and slippery in some sp...  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

4 days in Great Smoky Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 6 days in Knoxville BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, culture, outdoors, relaxing, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: July, culture, outdoors, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 36 days in Pittsburgh, Niagara Falls & Great Smoky Mountains National Park BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 28 days in United States BY A USER FROM AUSTRALIA September, popular PREFERENCES: September ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 29 days in United States BY A USER FROM TANZANIA August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 36 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM August, popular PREFERENCES: August ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 28 days in United States BY A USER FROM INDIA June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Tennessee BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, teens, kids, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Philadelphia, Asheville & Baltimore BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans