There is nothing quite like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the summer. Throughout the Smoky Mountains, there are over 2,000 miles of rivers and streams. The rains and humidity here are reminiscent of a tropical rainforest. One result of all this water is a series of over 100 cascades and waterfalls to be explored just within the borders of the park itself. Summer is a wonderful time for you to take a few hikes and discover them for yourself.
Five of the Best Waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
While there are over 100 waterfalls and cascades to visit, here we present five of the best for you to explore.
The Famous Four
More frequently referred to as the “Waterfall Quartet” this group of four waterfalls includes the Abrams, Laurel, Grotto, and Rainbow Falls. These are among the most popular of the many waterfalls in the Smokies and can be reached from individual hikes. The one thing they all have in common is that they are well worth the trek to the end of the trail; the scenery at each is sure to leave you breathless.
The Ramsey Cascades
If you like to go on adventurous hikes, then the trip out to Ramsey Cascades might just be your cup of tea. The hike covers 8 miles of challenging terrain that includes a change in elevation of 2,000 feet by the time you reach your destination. A tough climb, but at the end of it are the Ramsey Cascades. The longest drop is 100 feet into a shallow pool at the base with a calming roar. One note: the trail is rugged, be sure to wear good, stout hiking boots and never play on the rocks of the cascades.
The Spruce Flat Falls
The Spruce Flat Falls can be found in the Tremont section of the park and are still considered to be relatively unknown, which means the trails won’t be quite as busy. Ironically, the hike is only two miles round trip, but it can be challengingly steep and harder to hike, especially at the end near the falls. The other thing is that the start to the trail is hidden behind the Great Smoky Mountains Institute in Tremont and it is not well advertised.
The Meigs Falls
Looking for falls you can drive to? Then the Meigs Falls is just the thing. You can virtually drive up to within 500 feet of the falls and see them from the comfort of your air-conditioned car. The drop may only be 28 feet, but the surrounding foliage is spectacular in the summer and frames the falls perfectly.
Right next door to the Meigs Falls are The Sinks. These falls drop into a swimming/wading pool that forms the perfect backdrop for a family picnic. The waters are calm enough for all ages with parental supervision.
This is just a small sampling of the many beautiful falls to be found this summer in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Why not bring the family and see how many more you can find?