Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in the park and one of the most spectacular. Water drops 100 feet over rock outcroppings and collects in a small pool where numerous well-camouflaged salamanders can be found.
The trail to the waterfall gains over 2,000' in elevation over its 4 mile course and the 8-mile roundtrip hike is considered strenuous in difficulty. It follows rushing rivers and streams for much of its length. The last 2 miles pass through old-growth cove hardwood forest with large tuliptrees, basswoods, silverbells, and yellow birches.
Do not attempt to climb to the top of the falls. Several people have been killed trying to do so.
Access Trail: Ramsey Cascades Trail in the Greenbrier area
Trailhead: Drive six miles east of Gatlinburg on Highway 321 and turn at the Greenbrier entrance to the park. Follow the signs 4.7 miles to the trailhead.
Trail Notes: The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 8 miles and the hike is considered strenuous in difficulty. It takes about 5-7 hours to hike to the waterfall and back.
Carry drinking water with you. Portions of this trail are very rocky-sturdy hiking shoes with ankle support are recommended. Do not attempt to hike the trail in sandals or flip flops. Pets and bicycles are prohibited on the trail.Do not climb on rocks around the waterfall. Over the years, several people have fallen to their deaths and many others have suffered serious injuries from climbing on rocks near waterfalls or along the riverbanks. These rocks are slippery due to mist and algae. Closely supervise children at all times. more...
Pets are not allowed on this trail. The only two trails in the park that allow pets are the Gatlinburg Trail near the Sugarlands Visitor Center and the Oconaluftee River Trail near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Learn more about pet restrictions in the park.
Black bears are sometimes active in this area. Please read What Do I Do if I See a Bear.