Laurel Falls

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Family friendly, paved trail to one of the best waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Hiking Easy

Distance
4 km
Ascent
136 m
Descent
136 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
700 m
High Point
804 m
Gradient
Laurel Falls Map

Laurel Falls is a tiered cascade of about 80 feet in height, dropping in multiple columns over glistening rocks, and surrounded by the lush greenery of mountain laurel. The laurel is what the waterfall is named for, and you'll see lots of this thick-leaved shrub plus its cousin, rhododendron, all along the trail. They bloom in early summer with white and purple blossoms.

Description

The waterfall has two sections, and upper and lower. A bridge crosses the stream between the two, providing a nice view of the falls both above and below.

The trail is paved the whole way but is still somewhat steep and uneven in places, so strollers and wheelchairs are not recommended. It's more than a mile to the waterfall, and mostly uphill, so you should still be prepared for some exertion. Luckily, cold water and plentiful shade await at the end. You can dip your feet and kids will enjoy splashing around beneath the falls.

The trail is open year round but changes significantly with the seasons. Spring and early summer show off the flowers, midsummer's heat is perfect for getting wet, and autumn brings brilliant foliage. In winter the trail may be snowy and the waterfall fringed by ice.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/laurel-falls.htm

Difficulty

Easy

Walking along a well-kept trail that’s mostly flat. No obstacles are present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

1 out of 4

Close to help in case of emergency.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area