The 10 Most Picture-Perfect Waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains (& Where To Find Them)

Written by Volia Nikaci
Published: June 13, 2022
Image Credit Weidman Photography/Shutterstock.com
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Falls can be found aplenty in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, a popular tourist destination in the Southeast. There are few things better than discovering a waterfall at the end of a long hike – especially if you love hiking. If you’re willing to take on the hikes that lead to waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains, you’ll find them easily! 

The following is a list of some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains. Prepare to have the time of your life while visiting the Smokies.

1. Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls Tennessee
During the early morning hours of a sunny day, Rainbow Falls’ 80-foot mist can create a beautiful rainbow.

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

The Smoky Mountains are known for this waterfall walk. Rainbow Falls is accessible via the Rainbow Falls Trail, a moderately challenging 5.4-mile round-trip hike. During the morning hours, this 80-foot-high waterfall may produce a rainbow from the mist it produces. A secluded and beautiful waterfall, Rainbow Falls is the tallest single-drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains.

2. Baskins Creek Falls

Baskins Creek Falls
The Baskins Creek Trail leads to a waterfall in the Smoky Mountains after a 3-mile journey through the mountains.

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Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail
Animals to See:Long-eared Owl, American Goldfinch

On the Roaring Fork Motor Trail, the Baskins Creek Trail is an easy 3-mile roundtrip trek to Baskin Creek Falls. The waterfall measures 40 feet tall and has two levels. However, the path should not be taken lightly despite its simplicity as it can get pretty tough as you go along it. You can get away from it all at Baskins Creek and it’s easily accessible from Gatlinburg.

3. Fern Branch Falls

Location:Sevier County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Porters Creek Trail Trailhead
Animals to See:Snapping Turtle, Northern Scarlet Snake

Along the Porters Creek Trail in the remote part of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Fern Branch Falls cascade from a small stream. The waterfall is 40 feet high. Porters Creek Trail has wildflowers in spring, but it also has history and beauty year-round. You’ll see up to 40 kinds of wildflowers blooming in the spring on this intermediate hike.

4. Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls 
Grotto Falls is reached by a 3-mile hike through the forest.

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Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:The Great Smoky Mountains
Animals to See:Common Raven, Wood Thrush

The Trillium Gap Trailhead serves as the starting point for the journey to Grotto Falls. Grotto Falls is unique in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park because it’s the only waterfall that you can walk behind. During the summer, this 25-foot waterfall provides hikers with a cool, shady, and damp respite. Besides hikers, salamanders love it here too.

5. Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades
Ramsey Cascades is the highest and most magnificent waterfall in the Smoky Mountains.

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Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:Ramsey Cascades Trail
Animals to See:Northern Flying Squirrel, Mole Kingsnake

Ramsey Cascades, located along the Ramsey Cascades Trail, is the tallest waterfall in the Smoky Mountains. Despite its reputation for being difficult, the eight-mile round trip journey to the top of the peak is well worth the effort. You’ll walk through streams and waterfalls, as well as under some of the biggest and oldest trees in the park.

6. Abrams Falls

Abrams Fall Tennessee
The Abrams Falls path is a trail that leads to one of the most impressive waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

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Location:Blount County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Abrams Falls Trail
Animals to See:Gray Bat, Gray Wolf

The size of Abrams Falls may be small, but the amount of water cascading over the falls more than compensates for its low height. Especially impressive is its deep, broad pool. The creek and waterfall got their names from a Cherokee chief whose tribe originally sat a couple of miles downstream. As a result of strong currents and an undertow, swimming in the pool at the base of the falls is extremely dangerous.

7. Hen Wallow Falls

Hen Wallow Falls
Hen Wallow Falls is an impressive 90-foot waterfall around 2.1 miles into the Gabes Mountain Trail.

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Location:Cosby, TN
Nearby Attractions:Gabes Mountain Trailhead
Animals to See:Yellow Bumblebee, Salamanders

A lovely hike through the hemlock and rhododendron forest leads to the wonderful Hen Wallow Falls. Despite being just two feet wide at the top, Hen Wallow Creek’s width increases to 20 feet at the bottom. A 90-foot waterfall cascades from the top. If you look very carefully at the water at the base of the falls, you will often find salamanders living there.

8. Indian Creek Falls and Tom Branch Falls

Great Smoky Mountain National Park in Winter
In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park’s Deep Creek section, Tom Branch Falls is a beautiful cascade with simple features.

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Location:Bryson City, NC
Nearby Attractions:Deep Creek Trail
Animals to See:Bay-breasted Warbler, Little Brown Bat

There are two beautiful waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains along Deep Creek which can be reached by an easy 1.6-mile roundtrip hike. The Deep Creek Trail is about 0.7 miles long until it meets the Indian Creek Trail. Tom Branch Falls, an impressive 60-foot waterfall on the far side of Deep Creek, can be seen as you travel along your route. After turning right at the intersection with Indian Creek Trail, continue for about 200 feet until you reach Indian Creek Falls. This 25-foot waterfall is spectacular.

9. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls 
Mountain laurel, an evergreen plant that flowers along the route, inspired the names of Laurel Branch and the 80-foot-high Laurel Falls.

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Location:Sevier County, Tennessee
Nearby Attractions:Cove Mountain
Animals to See:Eastern Meadowlark, Peregrine Falcon

Laurel Branch and the 80-foot-high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen plant that blooms along the route and near the falls in May. At the base of the lower falls, a footbridge crosses a creek that separates the waterfall into two sections. Laurel Falls is an extremely popular attraction in the park, and parking at the trailhead is limited so it can get difficult to find space. This area gets super busy on weekends and weekdays in the summer, so keep that in mind when planning your trip.

10. Lynn Camp Prong Cascades

Lynn Camp Prong Cascades Tennessee
In its descent down the mountain near the Middle Prong Trail, the Lynn Camp Prong flows over multiple cascades.

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Location:Gatlinburg, TN
Nearby Attractions:Middle Prong Trail
Animals to See:White-tailed Deer, Squirrels

There is a series of cascades along the Lynn Camp Prong as it tumbles down the mountain near the Middle Prong Trail. Because the trail follows an old logging railroad, it is easy to walk on a wide, generally flat route. The trail is full of wildflowers all throughout the spring through the summer. This is a gorgeous waterfall in the Smoky Mountains that is pretty easy to reach.

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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.