Laurel Falls

4 Easy Waterfall Hikes in the Smoky Mountains That the Whole Family Can Enjoy

Are you and your family ready for a beautiful adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains? This region is home to a number of spectacular waterfalls that make the perfect hiking destinations! There’s a waterfall hike for every experience level, including easy hikes that are perfect for the entire family to explore together! Here’s a list of 4 easy waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains that your whole family can enjoy:

1. Cataract Falls

cataract fallsOne of the shortest waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains is also the easiest to access! The hike to Cataract Falls is around 0.75 miles round trip and can be accessed from the trailhead behind the Sugarlands Visitor Center just outside of downtown Gatlinburg. The trail starts out paved and eventually turns to gravel. This trail is relatively flat and follows alongside a creek, and you’ll even cross over a footbridge spanning the water. Cataract Falls stands at 25 feet tall and cascades over a series of rocks, making it a great spot to take photos with your loved ones!

2. Spruce Flats Falls

If you’re planning on visiting Cades Cove, make sure you save some time for one of the lesser-known easy waterfall hikes nearby: Spruce Flats Falls. Because this waterfall is a bit off the beaten path, it’s a great spot to escape the crowds and enjoy the beautiful scenery! This hike is considered easy to moderate and has a round trip length of 1.8 miles witha  total elevation gain of approximately 413 feet. Spruce Flats Falls has four separate tiers and stands at 30 feet tall. At the bottom of the cascades, the water spills into a pool that then runs into the Middle Prong of the Little River. 

3. Grotto Falls

grotto falls smoky mountainsThe most unique of the easy waterfall hikes in the Smoky Mountains is Grotto Falls. This is a must-see waterfall for a family who loves adventure! This is the only waterfall in the national park with a trail that goes behind the waterfall, letting you walk behind the falls! This makes for truly unique and beautiful photos. To reach the 25-foot-tall cascade, you’ll take the Trillium Gap Trail from the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg. The trail is 2.6 miles round trip with a total elevation gain of 450 feet.

4. Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls is one of the most popular waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains! This paved hiking trail leads to an impressive 80-foot two-tiered waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. When you reach the falls, you’ll pass over a small footbridge that separates the upper and lower sections of Laurel Falls. This is a great opportunity to take amazing pictures! The Laurel Falls Trail is approximately 2.3 miles round trip with an elevation gain of about 314 feet. Though it’s a paved path, some of the edges have steep drop-offs, so make sure you keep an eye on your little ones!

More Waterfalls to Explore in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

These are some of the top easy waterfall hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that your whole family can explore together! If you’re looking for more amazing waterfalls to discover in the park, make sure you check out these top 6 waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains you need to see!

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