Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail in Gatlinburg, Tennessee is an 11-mile loop home to several hiking trailheads. The convenient location of Roaring Fork, which can be accessed just a few miles from downtown Gatlinburg, makes the area a favorite place to explore for Smoky Mountain visitors. Get close to nature and see the beauty of the waterfalls, lush forests and mountain terrain.
Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail Hiking Guide:
Baskins Creek: This relatively easy hike is three miles roundtrip and features a 40-foot, two-tiered waterfall just might be the most underrated falls in the Great Smoky Mountains. The trailhead for Baskins Creek Trail will be on your left after driving about 0.2 miles on this one-way loop.
Bullhead Trail: Almost six miles round trip, hiking Bullhead Trail is an excellent choice if you prefer solitude while in the woods. Rock cliffs, scenic views, interesting geological sites and Balsam Mountain can all be seen on Bull Trail. To access the trailhead for this hike, follow Roaring Fork Motor Trail for .6 miles.
Grotto Falls: The trailhead for Grotto Falls is located 1.6 miles on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. Easy to hike and only 2.6 miles roundtrip, Grotto Falls is well worth the reward. Cascading over a 30-foot drop, the falls are some of the most picturesque in the park. Perhaps 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.
Mt. LeConte: Mt. LeConte is one of the highest peaks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You can reach Mt. LeConte from several access points, including Alum Cave, Bullhead, Rainbow Falls and Trillium Gap. The hikes range from 11-14.5 miles roundtrip and are rated difficult. We recommend the Alum Cave Access Trail which is the quickest and most scenic route. Unmatched its combination of interesting geological features, history, high adventure and stunning views, the Alum Cave Mt. LeConte Trail is well worth the effort of a strenuous hike.
Rainbow Falls: The trailhead for Rainbow Falls is located right before Roaring Fork Motor Trail officially begins, about 3.4 miles off Cherokee Orchard Road. Hiking the 5.4 mile Rainbow Falls trip features an uphill climb along boulders, forest and LeConte Creek. Your reward for the hike is an 80-foot high waterfall – the highest single-drop waterfall in the Smokies.