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12 votes

Grotto Falls

Great Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park, Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738 USA

Free to Visit
Open Now
Fri 12a-12a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
    not Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair
  • No Public

“Ideal for salamanders & summer hikers”

Trillium Gap Trail meanders through an old-growth hemlock forest and actually runs behind the 25 foot high waterfall. The cool, moist environment near the falls is ideal for salamanders and summer hikers. The hike is 3 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty.

For the most part the trail is a gentle climb to Grotto Falls along a wide, well-worn path. As you proceed to the waterfalls you'll cross over four small streams without the benefit of a bridge. At 1.2 miles hikers will reach a nice tumbling cascade. Just beyond this point, looking upstream, Grotto Falls comes into view for the first time.The most distinctive feature about Grotto Falls is that it's the only waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that a person can actually walk behind. The 25-foot high waterfall offers a cool, shady, and moist retreat for hikers in the summer. This same environment also provides an ideal habitat for salamanders as well.

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Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
June 26, 2014

Awesome hike.. Real fun.. Good amount of people hiking.. You can climb to the top of the falls and look down but it is dangerous and literally straight up..we climb and boulder for fun so it was pretty easy.. Great trails and it's just beautiful.. If you have the opportunity do it. You won't be disappointed

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
July 15, 2014
Rated 5.0

Wear water shoes and do yourself a favor by walking out into the waterfall. The water is frigid but the experience is amazing!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 10 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
April 01, 2016
Rated 5.0

You drive up the mountain to the Grotto Falls parking area. Limited parking spaces. Bathrooms on site at parking area. 1.4 mile hike to waterfall. Very pretty. Only con: Driving up is one way, you have to drive all the way around in a circle to exit to then enter the national park again to continue venturing through the various smoky mountain points.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 9 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
March 22, 2016
Rated 5.0

I took my 16 year old daughter, her friend, and my 8 year old son with me to this beautiful waterfall. The water is cold, but it is great just to cool off in on a hot day and the mile and a half walk. Most of the walk is easy, cool, and dry. There are a couple places you will cover very low amounts of water. You can take awesome pictures and walk behind the falls. The walk back is three times easier than the walk there so do not get discouraged! Bring a backpack with some water shoes, water, sunscreen, towel and a snack and you will be set!

We passed many day hikers that were coming back from above the falls.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
September 21, 2014
Rated 4.0

Great trail...steep in parts but well worth the effort...a great way to experience the park...

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 8 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
July 22, 2016
Rated 5.0

Awesome hike. It's a bit tricky in some parts. It's crowded at the top, so be patient. It's worth it. Bring flip flops so you can dip your feet in the water. Don't forget to bring water to drink, too.

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
May 25, 2015
Rated 5.0

This was a really nice hike. The distance is nice and relatively short. We went on Memorial Day weekend and had perfect sunny weather but the trees provided plenty of shade. The trail is a very popular one and it was very busy! But we still really enjoyed our visit to the beautiful falls and climbing a bit on the rocks.

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Grotto Falls

Great Smoky Mountains Nat'l Park
Gatlinburg, Tennessee
37738 USA


Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 12:00 am

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair Accessible
  • No Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • No Wifi
  • Private Parking

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