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Rainbow Falls Trail

 4.5 (26)
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6.6 Miles 10.7 Kilometers

3,808' 1,161 m


0' 0 m



Avg Grade (6°)


Max Grade (14°)

6,395' 1,949 m


2,587' 789 m


Shared By Ramoun Cabuhay


Minor Issues 60 days ago
Icy - gets icy one mile from the falls. can be done. worth the hike History

Getting forecast...

A gradual hike to the tallest single drop waterfall in the Smokey Mountains.

Ramoun Cabuhay

Dogs No Dogs

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Family Friendly Kids will enjoy the waterfall, as well as the log bridges.


Named after the rainbow formed in the mist of the waterfall during sunny days, Rainbow Falls boasts the tallest single drop waterfall in the Smoky Mountains. The hike to the waterfall is approximately 2.7 miles.

The trail to the falls is a relatively easy, gradual hike with a wide path to hike through. After the falls, the trail becomes more difficult and will require much more effort to get to LeConte which gives it the higher difficulty rating. Proper footwear is highly recommended as the beginning can be fairly rocky, and continuing on the trail beyond the falls will require adequate clothing during colder periods. Hiking in the winter can also create ice formations on the trail so consider traction devices.

The trail is a steady climb, passing through a boulder field in the beginning, then continuing on to a fairly wide, packed down path with minimal rocks. The trail has switchbacks on steeper parts of the mountain leading up to the falls making it relatively easy to hike up. You'll cross two footbridges on your way to the falls, one about one mile from the waterfall and another just before the falls.

The falls are best viewed after periods of rain. Cold temperatures also provide visitors with beautiful ice formations around the waterfall.

It is important to note that visitors should avoid approaching the waterfall on the boulders as they may become slippery.

From the falls you may continue on the trail for 4.2 miles to LeConte. Here the trail becomes narrower and steeper, before becoming more moderate again. As you head up higher in elevation, you'll also notice a change in flora, with greater populations in balsam and spruce among other trees. Temperature changes can also be significant and hikers will find themselves feeling colder especially during periods of rain.

Flora & Fauna

Balsam and spruce as well as wildflowers present on the trail. One may or may not also encounter black bears.


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Your Check-Ins


Jan 29, 2019
Thomas Mcadorey
Trail is passable. Lots of snow. Plan for a longer hike. Treading snow took 9 hours to get to the top! Had to pack crampons and snowshoes. 2/3 of t… 13.2mi
Jan 23, 2019
Charlie Nichols
Jan 21, 2019
Thomas Mcadorey
Jan 8, 2019
Anthony Haamen
Hiked to falls. Walked under, hiked back 6.1mi
Jan 2, 2019
Thomas Mcadorey
beautiful day. first hike of the new year. 6.6mi
Dec 24, 2018
Jon Walk
Trail was icy/snowy around 3700ft. Temps were ~27degrees at the falls. Layers are key* 5.2mi
Dec 22, 2018
Taylor Peterson
Amazing trail. LOTS OF SNOW made it challenging but we were the first out so It wasn’t messy. When it got packed down it got really slick. Come rea… 3mi
Dec 19, 2018
Lauren Sully

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 26 votes


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  4.5 from 26 votes
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