Grotto Falls Trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738

Grotto Falls Trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Grotto Falls Trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Grotto Falls is reached on the Trillium Gap Trail, so named for the flowers that grace it in spring. On this short and slightly challenging hike, you make your way over fingerlike roots patterns to arrive at wonderful falls, which are the only ones in the park that you can walk under and are extremely picturesque. Above the stand are old- growth hardwoods that are worth extending your hike beyond the falls.

The drive to the trailhead and back to Gatlinburg after the hike is on an interesting historic loop road called the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, in which you travel past old ruins of nineteenth-century homesteads at 10 miles per hour, while you drive through beautiful old and diverse forest. This quiet little ride is only 3 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg, so it takes no time to get there and immediately begin to enjoy the natural beauty and the history offered. You will actually reach the falls on the Trillium Gap Trail, so named for the profusion in the spring of beautiful white and yellow trillium along the trail, along with other wildflowers such as white violets and Dutchman’s breeches."

More Grotto Falls Trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Waterfalls in Tennessee (Falcon Guides)
Johnny Molloy
View more trails from this guide book
"This waterfall gets its name from the rockhouse behind the falls. The hike, near Gatlinburg, heads along the north slope of Mount LeConte, weaving its way to aptly named Roaring Fork, where you will find the tumbler jumping off a rock rim into a rock-lined pool. Interestingly, the official trail takes you behind the falls, through the grotto for which it is named. This can be a busy hike, especially during midsummer. Even then, early and late visitors will be fine. The hike leads to curious Grotto Falls, spilling over a deep rock overhang more commonly seen on the Cumberland Plateau. Enjoy walking amid old-growth forest of Carolina silverbell, black birch, and yellow birch. The park has preserved some virgin hemlock, too. You will then wind in and out of small watersheds, working toward Roaring Fork, on the cool north slope of Mount LeConte." Read more

Grotto Falls Trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Reviews

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8/23/2018
On a different site this was listed as “easy” ... not accurate. But moderate is appropriate - it’s Incline with roots and rocks throughout the trail made it a little more intense for beginners. And there is a rock scramble at the end.
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Grotto Falls Trail at Great Smoky Mountains National Park Photos

Trail Information

Gatlinburg
Nearby City
3.6
Distance
Loop/Lollipop
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
2 to 3 hours
Duration
Year-round
Season
Waterfalls
Features
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Local Contacts
USGS quad Maryville
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018