• Approximately 1,500 black bears live in the national park.

    Great Smoky Mountains

    National Park NC,TN

There are park alerts in effect.
hide Alerts »
  • Trail Advisory

    Several trails in the park are temporarily closed. Please check the "Backcountry Facilities" section of the Temporary Road and Facilities Closures page for further details. More »

Hike to Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Rainbow Falls

Hike along sparkling Le Conte Creek up to 80' high Rainbow Falls. As you hike along this trail you will see rocks ranging from the size of marbles to great boulders. In the spring and summer months, as you climb up towards the falls you will hike by blooms of crimson bee-balm and big yellow coneflowers.


Details about taking this hike:

Trail: Rainbow Falls Trail

Driving to the Trailhead: Take Historic Nature Trail Drive (traffic light #8 in Gatlinburg) into the park. At mile 3.4, just after the road becomes one-way, turn right into the Rainbow Falls Parking Area.

Hiking Distance: 2.7 miles one way to Rainbow Falls

Trail Conditions: Elevation change of 1,700 feet; trail contains switchbacks and is rocky in sections.

Notes: Rainbow Falls Trail continues past Rainbow Falls for a total of 6.7 miles up to the summit of Mt. Le Conte.

Rainbow Falls Location Map
Rainbow Falls Trail Location Map

Did You Know?

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001.

An experimental program to reintroduce elk to the park was begun in 2001. Elk once roamed the Smokies, but were eliminated from the region in the mid 1800s by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Other animals successfully reintroduced to the park include river otters and barn owls. More...