Rainbow Falls Trail (Mt. LeConte)Difficult

Rainbow Falls Trail (Mt. LeConte)

Distance (One Way)

6.5 miles

Elevation Gain

3,993 feet


Cherokee Orchard


Gatlinburg, TN

Trail Description

Rainbow Falls Trail is one of the 6 trails leading to Mount LeConte; it's also one of the most popular. The waterfall is located about 2.7 miles from the trailhead. The falls hike is very popular by itself, but for the more adventurous, passing the beautiful falls and continuing on to the summit of Mt. LeConte is also a possibility.

The hike to Rainbow Falls is rated moderate to hard. The trailhead begins 2.4 miles up Cherokee Orchard Road. This is accessible from Historic Nature Trail/Airport Road (light #8) in Gatlinburg. Rainbow Falls is at 4,000 feet in elevation and if your timing is right, mist from Roaring Fork Creek’s spill over the 80 foot ledge creates a rainbow in the early afternoon.

The entirety of Rainbow Falls Trail extends 6.5 miles all the way to Mount LeConte. At 5.9 miles it intersects with Bull Head Trail, then Alum Cave Trail at 6.4 miles, and Trillium Gap at its very end.

#mt leconte
#gatlinburg tn

Rainbow Falls Trail (Mt. LeConte) Elevation Profile

Rainbow Falls Trail (Mt. LeConte) Elevation Profile

Other Mt. LeConte Trails: Alum Cave Trail (Mt. LeConte) (5 m) Boulevard Trail (Mt. LeConte) (5.4 m) Brushy Mountain Trail (Mt. LeConte) (4.9 m) Bullhead Trail (Mt. LeConte) (5.9 m) Trillium Gap Trail (Grotto Falls, Mt. LeConte) (8.9 m)

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


Very Steep

Paul Petzoldt Scale






Shenandoah Scale


Very Strenuous




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Trail Map

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The above list of hiking trails in the Smokies is incomplete and constantly being updated. If you have information or photos you would like to contribute, please contact caroline@pigeonforge.com.

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