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10Explores: Grotto Falls

The 2.6-mile roundtrip is located off Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail through Trillium Gap Trail.

Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park — With dozens of falls and cascades throughout the Great Smoky Mountains, there are so many ways to chase waterfalls in the park.

One popular trail in the national park is Grotto Falls. The trailhead is located along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail near Gatlinburg.

Visitors can get to the falls from Trillium Gap Trail on a 2.6-mile roundtrip hike. The trail is rated easy to moderate difficulty with some elevation gain and some rocky terrain so good, sturdy shoes are recommended.

Keep in mind, this is a popular trail with limited parking so it's recommended to get there early, be patient and have a backup plan.

The park also asks visitors not to climb on the rocks around the falls as they are slippery and people have fallen in the past. 

What to expect on the trail:

Some tips before you visit:

  • Let someone know where you plan to hike, when you plan to be back, what clothes you are wearing and what your car looks like.
  • Wear sunscreen and bug spray.
  • Pack plenty of water and snacks.
  • Take a light source with you (preferably not your phone). The park said the number one reason people have to get rescued in the park is not bringing a light.
  • Keep an eye on the weather.
  • Pets are not allowed on the trail.
  • Be courteous to other park visitors.
  • Leave the plants and wildlife alone.
  • Have a backup plan if the trail is closed or too busy.
  • Check on road closures at twitter.com/smokiesroadsnps.
  • Make sure to have a parking tag.

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