comScore
Laurel Falls picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Brian W. Downs / Getty Images

Details

  • Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
  • 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0
Overall
US NEWS LOGO

Scorecard

  • Value
    5.0
  • Facilities
    2.5
  • Atmosphere
    4.0

Read about how we rank Things to Do.

Named for the mountain laurel (an evergreen shrub) that blooms throughout the park, Laurel Falls is one of the most popular trails in the park. The path has an upper and a lower section, divided by a walkway that crosses a stream at the base of the upper falls (which measure 80 feet in height). Although the round-trip hike is only 2.6 miles, it takes about 2 hours, due to the rough and uneven pavement and steep incline. Because of its popularity, the trail is busy year-round, especially on weekends and during the peak summer season.

Some recent hikers thought the trail was difficult and somewhat dangerous, mentioning steep drop-offs with no handrails and the rocky nature of the trail itself, while other more experienced hikers found it easy. All agreed that it was incredibly scenic and a great location for photos, especially in May and June, when the laurel is in bloom. Many advised that the lack of ample parking required some extra walking to reach the trailhead and noted that the area is known for its bear population, cautioning visitors to carry bear spray and refrain from discarding food along the trail. 

The Laurel Falls Trail is a 3½-mile drive from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, off Little River Road. There are parking areas on both sides of the road, but these fill up quickly during peak visitor season and on weekends year-round. Pets and bicycles are not allowed on the trail. Access to Laurel Falls is free. For more information about the trail, visit the NPS website.

Powered by Viator See more Tours & Tickets

More Best Things to Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Roaring Fork Motor Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Newfound Gap Road picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sightseeing Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Sugarlands Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Cades Cove picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking, Natural Wonders, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Clingmans Dome picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Cades Cove Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sightseeing, Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Abrams Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking, Recreation Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Grotto Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking, Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Laurel Falls picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Chimney Tops picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Hiking, Recreation, Sightseeing Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
|

#1 Roaring Fork Motor Trail The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a nearly 6-mile-long, one-way loop road, offers spectacular mountain scenery and access to two of the region's most popular waterfalls: Rainbow Falls and ... Read more » SuperT76 / Getty Images

#2 Newfound Gap Road Also known as notches or passes, gaps are the low points in a mountain ridge. The Newfound Gap, which sits at an elevation of 5,046 feet, is the lowest ... Read more » SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

#3 Sugarlands Visitor Center According to recent travelers, the Sugarlands Visitor Center should be your first stop in the park. The visitor center features extensive natural history exhibits and screens a free 20-minute film ... Read more » jcarillet / Getty Images

#4 Cades Cove Surrounded by mountains, Cades Cove is an isolated, fertile valley that was once home to many of the early Southern Appalachian settlers. You'll see 18th- and 19th-century cabins, three ... Read more » Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

#5 Clingmans Dome Clingmans Dome is not only the highest point in Tennessee, but also in the park itself. On a clear day, you may be able to see more than 100 miles ... Read more » Wray Sinclair / Getty Images

#6 Cades Cove Visitor Center The Cades Cove Visitor Center is located about midway on the 11-mile, one-way Cades Cove Loop Road. One of the most popular areas in the park, the Cades Cove valley ... Read more » NPS

#7 Abrams Falls Trail Named for a Cherokee chief whose village once occupied a spot alongside the creek, Abrams Falls is small, but mighty. While the falls are only 20 feet high, they pump ... Read more » JimVallee / Getty Images

mhare2000 / Getty Images

#9 Laurel Falls Named for the mountain laurel (an evergreen shrub) that blooms throughout the park, Laurel Falls is one of the most popular trails in the park. The path has an upper ... Read more » Brian W. Downs / Getty Images

#10 Chimney Tops One of the most popular trails in the park, Chimney Tops is one of the few mountains that has a bare rock summit and the views from the summit are ... Read more » GreenStock / Getty Images

Roaring Fork Motor Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Newfound Gap Road picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sugarlands Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingmans Dome picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Abrams Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Grotto Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Laurel Falls picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Chimney Tops picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Roaring Fork Motor Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Newfound Gap Road picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Sugarlands Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Clingmans Dome picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cades Cove Visitor Center picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Abrams Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Grotto Falls Trail picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Laurel Falls picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Chimney Tops picture in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Stop along the Roaring Fork Motor Trail to walk behind a waterfall at Grotto Falls. SuperT76 / Getty Images

The Newfound Gap, which sits at an elevation of 5,046 feet, is the lowest drivable pass in the park. SeanPavonePhoto / Getty Images

Most visitors recommend making Sugarlands Visitor Center the first stop to pick up trail and road maps, find out about closures and learn more about the park through the center's free film and extensive wildlife exhibit. jcarillet / Getty Images

Cades Cove is one of the most popular spots in the park, especially with hikers and cyclists. Courtesy Gatlinburg Convention & Visitors Bureau

Clingmans Dome is not only the highest point in Tennessee, but also in the park itself. On a clear day, you may be able to see more than 100 miles.  Wray Sinclair / Getty Images

The Cades Cove Visitor Center offers both indoor and outdoor exhibits, including access to the historic Becky Cable House. NPS

The Abrams Falls hike is not for novices, but experienced trekkers love packing a picnic lunch to enjoy at the base of the falls. JimVallee / Getty Images

Located at the No. 5 stop on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Grotto Falls sits along the 3-mile Trillium Gap Trail, offering a cool respite from the summer heat. mhare2000 / Getty Images

The Laurel Falls Trail, one of the most popular in the park, is named for the mountain laurel that line its path. Brian W. Downs / Getty Images

One of the most popular trails in the park, Chimney Tops is one of the few mountains that has a bare rock summit and the views from the summit are spectacular.  GreenStock / Getty Images

×

See full list of Best Things to Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park »

Explore More of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Find the Best Price

Enter your check in and check out dates to find the best price

PriceFinder powered by TripAdvisor Primary Logo