Smoky Mountain Trail: Grotto Falls

Smoky mountain river calm stream with rocks in autumn fall leaves nature

Grotto Falls

Grotto Falls is a 3 mile round trip moderate hike. The rocks behind the falls give it a cave-like appearance, and you can even walk behind the waterfall for a cool experience.

To begin the trail, you will need to go to the right beyond a parking lot. Keep an eye out for a sign that will guide you towards the falls and other destinations. Soon, you will come across a small creek that you can cross using stepping-stones. The trail then takes a sharp left turn and starts to ascend. After a quarter mile, you will reach an open area where the trail turns right. Over the next .85 of a mile, you will continue to ascend moderately, encountering rocky and root-filled sections. At the one-mile mark, the trail levels out and enters the cove of Grotto Falls. Here, you will be able to see the lower falls. After traversing a rocky stretch, you will finally reach the upper tier of Grotto Falls at 1.5 miles.

The waterfall widens to 12 feet from its 2-foot start in the sandstone above. Grotto Falls gets its name from the cave-like rocks behind it. Walking behind the waterfall is an enjoyable experience and the most convenient way to reach the other side.