- Hiking, Recreation Type
- 2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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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 Grotto Falls. You can actually walk behind the 25-foot high falls at the Grotto via the Trillium Gap Trail. You'll also see historic log cabins and the remains of a mountain village, the Roaring Fork Cemetery and an array of wildlife from birds and deer to black bears.
Recent visitors who raved about the beautiful waterfalls and mountain scenery on this motor trail said this is a must-see and a great place to spot bears in the wild. However, some summer tourists bemoaned the fact that the trail was crowded and offered limited parking areas. To avoid the midday rush of visitors, plan your drive in the morning to beat the crowds.
To access the trail, which is free to enter, turn off the main parkway in Gatlinburg at traffic light No. 8 and follow Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance to the national park. Note that in the winter months, the trail may be closed by the park service during inclement weather. To learn more about the trail and seasonal road closures, visit the NPS website.