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Grotto Falls

  4.4 ( 38 ) Favorite


2.6 mile 4.2 kilometer loop


Ascent: 515' 157 m
Descent: -516' -157 m
High: 3,690' 1,125 m
Low: 3,174' 968 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)


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Trail shared by Michael Flanigan

One of the few waterfalls you can hike behind in the Smokies.

Michael Flanigan

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

Family Friendly Not too steep or too long. We did Grotto Falls as a family hike with my 6 year old son. My son loved going under/behind the waterfall.

Roaring Fork Motor Trail is closed during the winter. Check the NPS site for road closures to make sure that the road is open.


A fun and relatively easy hike that can be enjoyed by the entire family.


The trail is not too steep and is in pretty good shape. There are spots that have a lot of roots or are pretty rocky, but most of the trail is dirt until the last 150 ft or so around the waterfall. There are a few places where shallow (< 2 inches deep) streams run across the trail. Most of these you can get through without getting wet.

Along the trail, there are several places that you give you a good view of the area. We also saw several different insect species (butterflies, millipedes, and caterpillars) on or near the trail. My son loved looking for these insects which kept him interested as we were hiking.

The hike took us a little over 2 hours, but we also stopped and had snacks at the waterfall and took several pictures. Going to the falls, the trail is all uphill even though it is not very steep. But what goes up, must come down! When hiking with a small child, it's nice to be able to say "it's all downhill from here".

The only drawback to this trail is that parking can be difficult. It is a pretty popular trail being so close to Gatlinburg. The actual parking for this trail is a fairly small lot, and there are lots of cars on the side of the road. We ended up parking about half a mile from the actual trail on a gravel shoulder.

Other than the parking, this was a fun hike with our family.

Flora & Fauna

Salamanders and varying insects that my 6 year old liked.

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We need help with the following missing trail information:

ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, History & Background


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Aug 30, 2019
Ann Geraci
Hiked with all the family. Lots of fun. A few stairs. Saw an elk or llama track in the mud. Loved crossing all the streams. 2.6mi — 12h 00m
Aug 23, 2019
Paul Avazier
1h 33m
Aug 18, 2019
Ryan Morris
Killian, Ainsley, and Lauren. Killian bitched the whole way up, but actually enjoyed the hike down. Still never wants to hike again
Aug 17, 2019
TJ Wilson
Aug 3, 2019
grae garrison
Brandt birthday weekend
Aug 2, 2019
Nancy K
KBS 스모키 마운틴 여행 2.6mi — 11h 00m
Jul 28, 2019
Trenton Dart
Nice short hike
Jul 27, 2019
Michael H

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 38 votes


in Roaring Fork


  4.4 from 38 votes
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