Traveling Ted is a blog that takes readers along on my adventures hiking, canoeing, skiing, and international backpacking. Many blogs focus on one aspect of backpacking, but I tackle both the outdoor adventure side and international exploration as well.

Sharing is caring!

Great Smoky Mountains

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls in this beautiful national park

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls

Seeing waterfalls and cascades in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a great adventure in this destination along the Tennessee and North Carolina border. On a recent trip hiking trip I was able to get three of them in. The first two were stops along the road, and the last one I hiked past on my way out of the mountains.

Laurel Falls

Located along the park road between the main entrance near Gatlinburg and Cades Cove, Laurel Falls is a perfect place for hikers of all abilities to enjoy a mountain waterfall. The waterfall is located 1.3 miles off the main road on a paved trail. There is a little bit of elevation gain, so it is not a super easy hike, but thanks to the pavement, there are no rocks or roots to impede your gait.

Three Great Smoky Mountain waterfalls

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls – Laurel Falls

Once you arrive at the waterfall, there is a bridge right in front of the waterfall that gives a perfect view. There is also a lower falls below the bridge. You have to do some off trail walking to get to the lower falls. The lower falls is almost an exact replica of the upper falls, and not as pretty as the upper falls, but it is still worth checking out.

Laurel Falls Smoky Mountains

Lower Laurel Falls not as impressive as the top

As I was leaving I noticed a rhododendron bush in full bloom hanging over the falls. I just had to get a picture of the flower with framed with the waterfall as the background.

Laurel Falls Great Smoky Mountains

Rhododendron bloom framed over Laurel Falls

The Sinks

A little bit farther down the road is The Sinks. The Sinks are more a powerful rapids than a falls, but it is worth a stop. This cascade is right off the road, so no hiking required. There is a stairway with an observation area for optimal viewing.

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls – The powerful Sinks

The Sinks is a popular swimming spot. Several people have drowned here, so be careful as the water is stronger than it looks.

Abrams Falls

About halfway through the 11 mile Cades Cove loop scenic drive is Abrams Falls. This trail takes the most effort to get to as the falls are 2.5 miles away one-way. This means a five mile round trip hike, so it takes 2-4 hours just in walking depending on your speed.

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls – Powerful Abrams Falls

I flanked Abrams Falls and came around the back way from the Gregory’s Ridge Trail off the Appalachian Trail. I wanted to take a swim in the pool underneath the falls. This is another area where people have drowned, so be careful.

I visited Abrams Falls over the 4th of July weekend and there was a mob there. It is a popular day hiking trail since it is only five miles and the waterfall is spectacular.

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls

Three Smoky Mountain waterfalls – Had a great swim in the pool

Despite the amount of people, surprisingly no one was swimming. I soon found out why. The water was icy cold. I finally found the courage to jump in. I drove 10 hours to get here and swim in this falls, so I would not be denied; however, I did not stay in long.

This sums up the three waterfall adventure in the Smokies. There are others to experience including Rainbow, Meigs Creek, Grotto, and Ramsey Cascade, but those are four I will save for another trip.

Adventure on!


The goal of Traveling Ted is to inspire people to outdoor adventure travel and then provide tips on where and how to go. If you liked this post then enter your email in the box to get email notifications for each new entry. Daily travel photos are excluded from your email in order to not flood you with posts. There is no spam and email information will not be shared. Other e-follow options include Facebook (click on the like box to the right) or twitter (click on the pretty bird on the rainbow above).

On the right sidebar is a donate button. If you would like to donate in order to support the site, it would be appreciated. All donations would cover travel expenses and improvements to make the site better.