Featuring the tallest waterfall of the Smoky Mountains, Rainbow Falls Trail gets you close to nature. It’s an 8.7km loop trail with an elevation gain of 503m. The trail is located in Smoky Mountain National Park near Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
The trail might appear as easy, but it’s not. It is rated as difficult and will test you with constant incline and rugged terrain. So, be prepared and wear the right clothes and shoes. It’s called Rainbow Falls because the rainbow is produced by the mist from the waterfall. Hikers can see it clearly.
To get to the trailhead, follow the Historic Nature Trail Road and after 0.6 miles you will reach the intersection. From there, driver further and you will reach the one-way loop, from there; the parking lot is 0.6 miles away. The parking lot is often full, so in that case, you can use the alternate parking area.
Begin hiking from the trailhead. The first part of the trail is s steady climb as it goes through a huge boulder field. When you hike this part, you can see LeConte Creek; it’s a great spot to take a break.
Continue from there and after 1.7 miles, you will cross over a footbridge. After 2.7 miles as you get near the waterfall, you will cross over another footbridge. Enjoy the great views of the waterfall and take a lot of photos.
Even though there is not much distance as well as climbing, the hike is pretty challenging. It has a reputation for being a tough trail, because of the terrain it passes through. The slippery rocks around the waterfall make it even more dangerous. You are recommended to not try to climb the rocks near the waterfall, as many hikers have suffered injuries while doing so.
The views are even more beautiful if you visit after the rain. But, even if it’s not raining, you can get stunning views, if you get there early in the morning. You will also be able to get the best photos of the waterfall.
Carry adequate water and high energy snacks with you and keep a map of the trail as well. Dogs are not allowed on the trail. If you are hiking late, it’s important to keep a flashlight with you as well as matches.