grotto falls
September 22, 2022

Make the most of your Smoky Mountain vacation with an exciting expedition in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! Grotto Falls offers an opportunity for visitors to enjoy a blood-pumping scenic hike while also taking the chance to see a beautiful Smoky Mountain waterfall! Here are 3 reasons to explore Grotto Falls in the Smoky Mountains:

1. See the Falls

grotto falls

Grotto Falls is the only waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that features a walkable path directly behind the waterfall. Get up close and personal with nature’s work of art, standing behind the waterfall as water sprays over you! Hear and feel the overwhelming energy of the thunderous power of Grotto Falls as it pours into a pool in front of you! Bring the camera and grab a snapshot of you and your group with the falls! Grotto Falls is roughly 25 feet tall and has become a favorite attraction to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You’ll be blown away by the natural beauty of this gorgeous waterfall!

2. Go On a Moderate Difficulty Hike

To arrive at beautiful Grotto Falls, you’ll wind through a gorgeous 2.6-mile trail known as the Trillium Gap Trail! This Smoky Mountain trail provides a moderate challenge for park guests, requiring hikers to wear reliable, sturdy shoes and have the ability to navigate the uneven, unpaved nature trail. While categorized as a moderately challenging hike, Grotto Falls Trail can be completed by all skill levels, including beginners who take their time and follow their lead This well-maintained trail is always clean and clear of litter and debri, making already amazing Smoky Mountain views even more spectacular! Completing the Grotto Falls Trail takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 2-3 hours.

3. Enjoy Nature and Scenic Landscape

llamas carrying supplies to top of Mount LeConte

You’ll find endless Smoky Mountain wildlife roaming its natural habitat while traveling the old-growth hemlock forest that make up the Trillium Gap Trail! It’s become a common occurrence for visitors to spot beautiful black bears on this trail! During the spring, pretty wildflowers begin to pop up and take over the landscape on the trail! A stroll on the Trillium Gap Trail will have you encounter some fascinating animals while enjoying gorgeous views of the Smokies! You might even spot a few llamas as they deliver supplies to the top of Mount LeConte!

Tips For Hiking

  • Wear appropriate and comfortable footwear
  • Bring plenty of fresh water
  • Dress in clothing appropriate for the weather
  • Pack a snack
  • Don’t stray from the trail
  • Keep track of time/daylight
  • Do not approach wildlife
  • Don’t litter; pick up after yourself
  • Bring a buddy

Directions to the Trailhead

From the Parkway in Gatlinburg, turn at traffic light #8 onto Historic Nature Trail / Airport Road into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Take Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail about 1.6 miles to a large parking lot on the left side of the road. The trailhead for Trillium Gap Trail can be found on the opposite side of the road.

Now that you’re familiar with Grotto Falls, perhaps you’re interested in finding additional waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains! Take a look at some of these popular Smoky Mountain waterfalls and start planning your trip today!