The 10 Most Awe-Inspiring Waterfalls in Gatlinburg

Written by Volia Nikaci
Published: May 24, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/kellyvandellen
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The feeling of standing behind a wall of cascading water is amazing. So if you’re into waterfall chasing, Gatlinburg is the place to go. For those of you who have never heard of Gatlinburg, it’s a tourist destination in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. Gatlinburg and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the South.  

Are you interested in discovering all the waterfalls in this region of the country? We’ve got the rundown on the 10 most awe-inspiring waterfalls in Gatlinburg that you won’t want to miss out on!

1. Grotto Falls 

Grotto Falls 
Grotto Falls is one of the most unique sights in the Great Smoky Mountains since you can walk behind the rushing waterfall.

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Location:Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Animals to See:White-tailed Deer, Groundhog

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Grotto Falls flows 50 feet into an attractive pool, creating “The Grotto.” On the way to the falls, there are observation platforms that provide views of this grotto. Grotto Falls is a great place to cool off in the summer since the falls generate a natural cooling effect with their mist. This waterfall can be found along the Trillium Gap Trail in Gatlinburg.

2. Laurel Falls 

Laurel Falls 
The Laurel Falls path is the most popular trail in the Smoky Mountains National Park.

anthony heflin/Shutterstock.com

Location:Sevier County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Animals to See:Black Bear, Elk

Are you looking for one of the best waterfalls in Gatlinburg? Then Laurel Falls is the place to be! Located just a few miles from downtown, this waterfall is easy to get to. With a height of about 60 feet and an upper and lower part to explore, these falls are not to be missed. Take the paved trail to Laurel Falls for a 2.6-mile walk and you’ll understand why it is so popular.

3. Abrams Fall 

Abrams Fall Tennessee
Down the Abrams Falls trail is one of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s most voluminous waterfalls in Gatlinburg.

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Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:Cades Cove
Animals to See:Salamanders, Coyotes

The Abrams Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is perhaps the most stunning waterfall in the park. With a 60-foot plunge, it’s a great site for anyone who enjoys hiking or taking fantastic photographs of nature. Despite its modest size and length, the five-mile round trip hike down Abrams Creek is well worth the effort. You will pass through pine, oak, hemlock, and rhododendron as you descend the valley floor. However, the final destination and the beauty of the trip there are well worth the effort.

4. The Sinks

The Sinks
The Sinks is a deep valley where the full flow of the Little Pigeon River sinks.

Chris Light / Creative Commons – License

Location:Sevier County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Appalachian Trail
Animals to See:Bobcat, Snapping Turtle

The Sinks is one of the few waterfalls in Gatlinburg that can be reached by car. Because the falls are easily accessible, they may become busy. Therefore, it’s recommended to visit the Sinks early to enjoy the greatest views of the cascade. This is one of the park’s most spectacular falls. Before the Smoky Mountains became a national park, dynamite was used to break up a log jam below the sinks. As a result, the river flow was not only altered and a waterfall was formed, but a deep pool was also formed. Use extreme caution when swimming near the Sinks as powerful currents have drowned swimmers who ventured too close to the falls.

5. Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades
Ramsey Cascades is the tallest and most magnificent waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Location:Sevier County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Chimney Tops Trail
Animals to See:Northern Scarlet Snake, Northern Saw-whet Owl

With a height of 100 feet, Ramsey Cascades is the park’s tallest and probably most beautiful waterfall. However, there is a fairly strenuous climb of 8 miles round-trip to get to the falls. This waterfall is located in Greenbrier, a section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park known for its giant, old-growth hemlock and poplar trees.

6. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls Tennessee
Mist created by the 80-foot-high Rainbow Falls creates rainbows on sunny mornings.

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Location:Sevier County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:The Rainbow Falls Trail
Animals to See:Wild Turkey, Eastern Bluebird

Rainbow Falls, located between Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge on Highway 321, is one of Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s most famous sights. The scenic route offers views of waterfalls, historic landmarks, and more along its 6-mile length. There are three separate viewing platforms at the trailhead where visitors can witness Rainbow Falls in all its glory. You might find it difficult to climb back down, but it’s well worth it when you see all of the stunning views!

7. Cataract Falls

Cataract Falls Tennessee
Directly to the left of the Sugarlands Visitor Center, south of Gatlinburg, you’ll find the renowned Cataract Falls route.

James W. Thompson/Shutterstock.com

Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:downtown Gatlinburg
Animals to See:Raccoons, Red Squirrels

Among the Smokies’ best-kept secrets is the Cataract Falls hiking trail. With a roundtrip distance of about 3/4 mile, this route is ideal for families with young children because it is less than 10 minutes from downtown Gatlinburg. It’s a stunning waterfall that cascades in three different parts of the creek. You’ll absolutely fall in love with this waterfall in Gatlinburg. 

8. Hen Wallow Falls

Hen Wallow Falls
The trail to Hen Wallow Falls leads through a forest of hemlocks and rhododendrons.

iStock.com/scgerding

Location:Cosby, TN
Nearby Attractions:Gabes Mountain Trailhead
Animals to See:Woodchuck, Gray Squirrels

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Hen Wallow Falls is a 90-foot waterfall near Cosby, TN. This waterfall is one-of-a-kind because it starts at the top and falls down to a width of more than 20 feet at the bottom. Because it is filled with sharp rocks in certain places, the base of the falls is not suitable for viewing. You’re best off staying at the viewpoint on top, where you’ll get a beautiful view of Gatlinburg.

9. Indian Flats Falls

Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:Middle Prong Trail
Animals to See:Big Brown Bat, Fireflies

Indian Flats Falls is a gorgeous waterfall with a short walk along a stream, cascades, and bridges along the way. At the end of your hike is a four-tier cascading waterfall that drops 60 feet. Because this is a popular waterfall in Gatlingburg, it is a good idea to visit early in the morning to avoid the crowds, especially during peak season.

10. Baskins Creek Falls

Baskins Creek Falls
Located 1.5 miles from the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Baskins Creek Falls is found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

iStock.com/kellyvandellen

Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:Baskins Creek Trail
Animals to See:Eastern Cougar, Timber Rattlesnake

Located about 20 minutes from Gatlinburg, Baskins Creek Falls is one of the area’s lesser-known waterfalls. Despite being short, the trek can be challenging due to steep scrambling trails near the falls. However, the waterfall is well worth the effort! After all, the 30-foot, two-tiered fall is an absolute sight to behold!

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About the Author

Volia Nikaci is a copywriter and content editor with a passion and expertise in SEO content creation, branding, and marketing. She has a background in Broadcast Journalism & Political Science from CUNY Brooklyn College.

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