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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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
  • 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.
  • 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 :)
  • Easy trail with lots of fun streams, trees, and bushes. Plus the falls are pleasant. My only complaint is that the falls are so popular due to the ease of hike that they are very crowded often. Be prepared to share the views.
  • So beautiful and a great place to hike to for families with children or those who just don't want to go all the way up the mountain. I would suggest kids no younger then 4 unless the are young enough to go in carrier
  • Scenic hike with plenty to see along the way. The hike is easy to intermediate and uphill all the way to the falls (about a mile and a half), so may be a bit of a challenge to people from flatter areas, but nothing out of the ordinary and definitely worth the walk.

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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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