Rainbow Falls Trail

Rainbow Falls Trail is a fairly challenging trail if completed all the way to Mt LeConte

It takes about an hour and a half to hike to Rainbow Falls and four hours to Mt. LeConte. Hikers will gain nearly 4,000 feet in elevation by the time they get to Mt. LeConte.  You will most likely encounter other hikers along the way.

The trail is composed of gravel at its beginning but ascends fairly quickly.   Also, it is somewhat rocky with lots of tree roots running through the trail.  Until about 1.7 miles up it will be rocky and gradually elevates until you reach the waterfall.  The waterfall drops its water 80 feet into LeConte Creek.

rainbow falls trail

Rainbow Falls Trailhead is accessed along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Image by Jeaneane Payne

First of all, on your way to Rainbow Falls you will travel along a beautiful river and several waterfalls.  Rainbow Falls is named after the rainbow formed in the mist of the waterfall during sunny days.  Furthermore, it is the tallest single drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains.  You will also see a few waterfalls along the trail.  The actual Falls is after the second footbridge.  A spectacular waterfall is one of the most scenic spots in the national park.

As you journey, you will enjoy flowers, plants, and a variety of foliage.  You will also see boulder fields, small falls and possibly a few deer. 

Trail Tips

Pets are not permitted on this trail.  Rainbow Falls Trail can be challenging, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear to walk over rocks and tree roots.

Directions: Turn at light #8 in Gatlinburg and follow Historic Nature Trail 1 mile into Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The name will change to Cherokee Orchard Road. About 2.5 miles after entering the Park, the road approaches the Rainbow Falls parking area. As a result, you will find the trailhead at one edge of the parking area.

NOTE:  Rainbow Falls Trail restoration project is now complete

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Fishing in Great Smoky Mountains
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• Abrams Falls Trail