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Discover the Magic of Waterfalls in the Smokies

April 2, 2019
Book Lodging

Besides scenic hikes and mountain drives, waterfall exploration is another wonder of the Smoky’s.  Waterfalls in their magical aura are abundant throughout the park.  I can still remember my first visit to the park discovering the misty forest and waterfall hikes my parents took me on.  Below are my top 4 family-friendly waterfall hikes.  Kids to adults will wonder in the marvel of the waterfalls.

Juney Whank Falls
This waterfall can be viewed at both the upper and lower portions and is 90 feet tall.  Named after Mr. Junaluska ‘ Juney’ Whank who believes to be buried in the area.  This is a .8 mile hike that is moderately difficult and takes about 1 to 2 hours depending on the hiker ability and amount of stops.  Access the Juney Whank Falls Trail through Bryson City, North Carolina and follow signs to the national park through Bryson City to Deep Creek Campground.  Go past the campground to the trailhead at the end of Deep Creek Road.

Rainbow Falls
Have you ever watched water reflection look like a rainbow?  This is the case of Rainbow Falls where the 80 foot waterfall lives up to its name.  The mist creates a rainbow as it splashes down.  This hike is a bit more difficult than some of the other waterfall hike as it is 5.4 miles and classified as moderate to difficult.  It is about 3 – 5 hours in length depending on hiker ability.  To access from the parkway in Gatlinburg, turn at the traffic light #8 and follow the Historic Nature Trail into the park.  Continue towards the parking area marked Rainbow Falls.

Abrams Falls
While a 20 foot tall waterfall does not always appeal when compared to an 80 foot waterfall, there is some distinction as to why it is a worthwhile water fall to check out.  The hike itself is gorgeous, especially when approaching the waterfall hearing the force of the falls and the water surrounding it.  The round trip hike is about 5 miles and is considered moderate.  Access from Cades Cove in the Gatlinburg area and it is just past stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop.

Ramsey Cascades
Excited to discover the tallest waterfall in the park?  Look no further than Ramsey Cascades as the waterfall is 100 feet over a beautiful set of rock outcroppings.  Like being the tallest waterfall in the park, the hike alone is also one of the more longer and challenging hike as it is 8 miles round trip and considered strenuous.  Most people need to allow about 5 to 7 hours to complete.  To access, head from the Greenbrier area near Gatlinburg.  Drive about 6 miles east of Gatlinburg on Highway 321 and turn at the Greenbrier entrance to the park.  Go another 4.7 miles to the trailhead.


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