Smoky Mountain Waterfalls: Auto Tours, Cascades, & Easy Access Waterfall Hikes

Not all Smoky Mountain waterfalls are only reachable via a strenuous hike. There are numerous waterfalls and cascades that you can drive to or view along a peaceful auto tour. There are also several hike options to see large waterfalls, but plenty of them are short and easy nature walks. Keep reading for tips on how to find some beautiful Smoky Mountain waterfalls and cascades without trudging too far into the wilderness.

Waterfalls & Cascades You Can Drive To

The Sinks

A drive along Little River Road from Townsend to Gatlinburg yields many opportunities for viewing gorgeous cascades. About five miles east from the Townsend Wye you will find The Sinks, a scenic location with heavy cascades. There is also access to a swimming hole and a hiking trail.

The Sinks

Meigs Falls

Meigs Falls is just over a mile west of The Sinks. As you're driving along Little River Road, look for a large pull off area with a retaining wall to your left. From this area you can see the waterfall in the distance. The view can be partially obstructed in the summertime when the trees are fully leafed; we recommend checking it out in the winter or early spring.

Meigs Falls

Place Of A Thousand Drips

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail just outside of Gatlinburg is a 5.5 mile auto tour that offers views of the old growth forest, beautiful wildflowers, and Smoky Mountain waterfalls. The most popular cascade is the appropriately named Place Of A Thousand Drips. Access this road south of Gatlinburg from Cherokee Orchard Road; it is closed in the winter months.

Roaring Fork

Very Easy To Reach Waterfalls

We know, we know. We told you there are waterfalls you can drive to, and you're reading this thinking those are just a bunch of puny cascades! While there are plenty of ways to see spectatular sights in the Smokies, the best of the best require just a little bit more effort. Read below for actual Smoky Mountain waterfalls you can reach on foot via very easy hikes.

Spruce Flats Falls

Of all the gorgeous Smoky Mountain waterfalls in the park, Spruce Flats Falls might be one of the best kept secrets because it is not marked on the official GSMNP map. It's a big, beautiful waterfall - not just a cascade. From the GSM Institute at Tremont follow the signs on a simple 1 mile hike to reach the falls.

Spruce Flats Falls

Mouse Creek Falls

The Big Creek area in the easternmost part of the national park features some of the best and most peaceful water features you can find. It's about a 45 minute drive from Gatlinburg on Highway 321 (or about 40 minutes from exit 407 on I-40). The fabulous Mouse Creek Falls can be found in the first 2 easy, fairly flat miles of Big Creek Trail.

Big Creek Trail

Deep Creek

On the southern side of the national park is the wonderful little area of Deep Creek. It is home to 3 spectacular waterfalls (all of which are accessible within a 2 mile loop), a tubing and rafting outpost, a campground, and even a mountain biking trail. It's a great spot to visit for a day trip.

Deep Creek, North Carolina

Scenic Riverside Auto Tours


From the Townsend Wye follow Laurel Creek Road and quickly turn (0.2 m) onto Tremont Road on the left. This five mile out and back drive follows the beautiful Middle Prong of the Little River all the way to the end of the road where Middle Prong Trail begins. Be sure to stop at the Tremont gift shop on your way back. You'll find all kinds of cool merch including books, stickers, pins, puzzles, and much more. All the shop's proceeds go directly to scholarships for GSMIT.


Just about 6 miles from Gatlinburg on Highway 321 (near the GSM Arts & Crafts Community) is a lovely woodsy area popular for fishing, hiking, swimming, and picnicking. After the ranger station Greenbrier Road turns intro gravel. Turn left at the bridge for a 1.5 mile woodsy drive along Middle Prong of the Little River. This is where you'll find the trailhead for Ramsey Cascades, a 4 mile trail to the tallest waterfall in the park; it is not an easy hike.

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