wandering the waterfalls of Great Smoky Mountains National Park – Lonely Planet’s travel blog

Man stands in front of waterfall in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park The Great Smoky Mountains NP is a Superb showcase of nature’s energy © Nick Alvarez

Lonely Planet Pathfinder, Nick Alvarez of Be Actual Traveling, lately returned from a visit to Great Smoky Mountains National Park — one of the very best value destinations for 2019. Armed with his tripod and camera, he also embarked on a journey to catch the park’s many waterfalls in full stream.

Since the most-visited national park in the united states, Great Smoky Mountains is filled with magnificent sights such as majestic mountains, attractive wildlife, and historical buildings. But for this specific excursion, I had one attention — waterfalls. As a result of high elevations and plentiful rain, Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a waterfall chaser’s fantasy. Close to the end of winter, despite temperatures frequently being below freezing, I set out to see half of the park’s waterfalls, and also to exemplify what makes them unique.


On our first day at the playground, my wife and I climbed to Laurel Falls, one of its most well-known attractions. Upon hitting the waterfall, I instantly realized why it’s so popular — water flows down several levels of stone to unbelievable effect. The cherry on top of the cake however, is a walkway situated only a couple feet from the bottom of this waterfall, which enabled us to enjoy the grandeur of these flows up close. Though a lot of this increase for this waterfall is faulty, it is not too hard — if my husband can do it, so do you!

Fast and angry

Since the park is home to more than a million black bears, I carried a air ducts with me all lifts, prepared to defend myself in the event of an experience. Although I did not wind up sinking into a bear, I did face another monster: Abrams Falls. I was awestruck by the rate at which a massive volume of water raged down the waterfall. As I gazed in its raw energy, I pondered,’would an air horn really scare off a bear?’ I am glad I did not need to learn!

Small, but perfectly shaped

along with epic Instagram chances, there’s another advantage to seeing a waterfall — it is quite therapeutic. Lynn Camp Prong Cascades is a fantastic illustration of this, since the waterfall is placed within a delightfully composed landscape along a river. This waterfall lacks in size, it makes up for in calmness. It was the ideal place to de-stress and unwind, aided by the soothing sounds of trickling water.

What a tease

Meigs Falls taunted me behind the moat-like Little River, which we weren’t able to cross as a result of heavy rain. Forced to respect the waterfall from afar, I revelled in the subtropical scenery that surrounded it much more. Visible from the street, this waterfall is excellent for the ones that are not able to (or want to not ) hike. I am all for the feeling of satisfaction that comes with finishing a difficult hike, but when a waterfall takes minimal function for me to see and love, you won’t hear me whining!

Immersed from the activity

While Mouse Creek Falls is an entrancing, multi-leveled waterfall, making it really magical is the fashion by which it could be gotten. This waterfall displays two rare attributes: first, unlike a lot of waterfalls that flow across a river, this waterfall flows down to the side of a river. Secondly, stones jut from the riverbank opposite the waterfall, which lets you step out to the center of this activity. Together with the river racing on either side of me and the waterfall crashing down in front of me, I was not only an onlooker, I had been part of the scene.

A song of ice and snow

Hiking in below freezing temperatures might be harsh undertaking, but through it all, I had been motivated by the chance of visiting a partially-frozen waterfall. My elegance was rewarded with Ramsey Cascades, a towering behemoth lined with snow and ice. I marveled at humongous chunks of ice breaking and crumbling down the waterfall. If there’s 1 thing which Great Smoky Mountains National Park educated me, it is this: a waterfall is not only a sight, it is an experience.

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