Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Our Smokey Mountain Vacation - Day Five, Part Four: Grotto Falls

This post is part of a travel series of our vacation in the Smokey Mountains.  To start at the beginning, go HERE!  The rest of the posts in chronological order are HERE, HEREHEREHEREHERE, HEREHERE, and HERE!

Hello!  If you missed me last week I am back from a one week blogging break.  I didn't intend to take a break, but the kids and grandkids were all here for the 4th of July holiday week and we were so busy I never had time to blog.  We had so much fun and I can't wait to tell you all about it, but I really want to finish this travel series to the Smokey Mountains first.  I'm almost done with this series, I promise!  I think I have about two posts left.  

This week I am sharing our hike to Grotto Falls.  Grotto Falls is a very popular hike in Smokey Mountain National Park because it is the only waterfall in the park you can "legally" walk behind.  I say this, because my hubby and many others disobeyed the warning signs, and climbed the rocks and walked behind Rainbow Falls.

Grotto Falls is 25 feet high.

The hike to Grotto Falls is rated as "Easy" as it is only 2.6 miles roundtrip with a 565 elevation gain.  However, to get the "Easy" hike you need to access the trailhead from the Roaring Forks Motor Road which is closed in the winter.  You can get to Grotto Falls from other trails, but then you will add another 3.4 miles to your trip.  When we were there it was very early spring, and the road did not open until the VERY LAST DAY of our vacation.  I was so grateful, the road actually opened on our last day, because it was one of my favorite highlights of our vacation.

The hike to the waterfall is very unimpressive.  It did not offer amazing views like Laurel Falls or have constant beauty all along the trail like Alum Cave Trail.  And we actually found the river area leading up to the falls kind of "messy", filled with old fallen timber washed down the mountain.  I know, it's "natural", but not very photogenic.

We did come across our first snake on this trail.  This black snake was just hanging out in a tree along side the trail.

You cross four small streams on this trail without footbridges.

Because we reached this trail in the late afternoon it was quite busy.  I much would have preferred being there bright and early in the morning to have the whole place to myself.  But we were so busy visiting other areas of the park on day five, that we couldn't get to Grotto Falls until late in the day.  I'm sure the crowds affected my feelings about this trail. Perhaps I would have had a more positive feeling if there were less people.

When we reached Grotto Falls, everyone waited "in line" to have their picture taken behind the falls.

It is quite slippery behind the falls as the stone is constantly wet.  There are no handrails, so I was grateful to have my walking sticks.

Below I've added three short videos.  The first one is when we first started driving the Roaring Forks Motor Road.  It was my favorite scenic road in the park.  I liked it more than the Cades Cove Loop...and I really loved that one too!  I will share more about our drive on the Roaring Forks Motor Road next week, but the video gives you just a taste of what's to come.  It is much more narrow of a road than the Cades Cove Loop, and there is also an elevation gain that can be pretty scary on such a narrow road.

The next two videos show Grotto Falls.  The first one is taken from the front of the falls and the second one is taken from behind.

 Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


  1. So glad you got to do this hike; even if it was more crowded than you'd have liked.

    1. Yes, we were grateful the road opened on our last day and we got to see the falls.

  2. Wow, such a super lovely place. Very beautiful.

  3. The waterfalls and creeks are so peaceful and calming to me. Thanks so much for linking up with me at the Unlimited Link Party 30. Pinned!

  4. I need to visit. It’s perfect

  5. Wow! What a fabulous hike!

    I'm so happy to see your link at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  6. Beautiful photos, Amy! I did have a little laugh that your husband disobeyed the warning signs and illegally walked behind some falls! We are heading to Niagara Falls this weekend so I am pretty excited about that! Thanks for sharing and linking with me.


    1. Thank you! Yes, he can be quite the thrill seeker on our hiking adventures and quite frequently makes me very nervous. Oh, that's exciting about Niagara Falls. Have you ever been there before? I have and I loved it. The boat ride was so fun. We had no idea it was a park until we got there. That made it extra special.

  7. Beautiful photos, I would love to visit. Breathtaking view. The waterfall is amazing :)

    Thanks so much for linking up to Creative Mondays #CreativeMondays


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