Rainbow Falls Trailhead

Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Gatlinburg Tennessee is absolutely one of our favorite places in the world for so many reasons. It's a quaint little mountain town that was settled in the early 1800s. There are so many things to do for singles, families, groups or loners that any and every one could have a great time without compromising. Lots of food, entertainment, relaxation, scenery and most important for us… nature.

We are a very active couple our favorite thing to do when in the mountains is hike, especially if it leads to a beautiful waterfall. Gatlinburg is at the mouth of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, land of a thousand waterfalls & overlooks. Nature is truly at its best right here and I would encourage anyone who enjoys outdoor activities to visit this small section of the world. 

Rainbow Falls itself can be a pretty boring waterfall when rain is minimal, but it's gorgeous in the spring when snow from the top of the mountain begins to melt or after significant rainfall. Nature will also be showing off its colors with a variety of flowering mountain plants. The height of the waterfall is 80 feet, so it's a good size, but it can be underwhelming with just a trickle of water in the hot dry summer.

Hiking Distance (Roundtrip Length): 5.4 Miles
Trail Difficulty Rating: 8.77 (moderate to difficult)


The trail begins near a small parking area off Cherokee Orchard Loop Road. The trail starts off with a fairly mild incline laced with outcrops of stones and tree roots. The incline gradually improves giving a noticeable increase to your breathing as your body tries to keep up with the need for more oxygen. About 2/3'rd of the way to reaching Rainbow Falls, the incline gets downright ugly.  It becomes a real effort and while I agree with the 'moderate' difficulty rating for SOME of the trail, this section gets pretty hard for the casual hiker. I am fairly fit and need deep breaths to recover from the climb if I push through without any breaks. That being said, I love this trail. It's a calorie burner for sure and you will definitely get a good night’s sleep!

   The beauty of this trail is the option to continue another 3.9 miles to the summit of Mt. LeConte, which is the third largest peak in the Smoky's and part of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail that travels from Georgia to Maine. It's our goal to someday hike each mile of the Appalachian Trail, but I'm having a little trouble convincing myself if this is a good idea. The difficulty of Rainbow Falls is partially to blame... (ha ha!)

Trail Location:   Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail  
Round trip length:  5.4 Miles  
Total Elevation Gain:   1685 feet over 2.7 miles  
Trail Difficulty Rating:   8.77 (moderate)


  1. Wow! What a beautiful falls to check out. We love nature hiking too. The falls is beautiful.

  2. That's a beautiful place sis. Sarap ng ala pang anak noh, you can go wherever and whenever you like.

  3. Breathtaking! You just reminded me that the last time we went on a hike was ages ago. Gotta go hiking with the fambam soon.

  4. wow! simply amazing ng place. The mini falls and stream is perfect place to unwind.

  5. That place I would love to visit, but so far away from me:) Thanks for the pictures!

  6. That place I would love to visit, but so far away from me:) Thanks for the pictures!


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