Cataract Falls is the perfect hike for children, senior adults, or for anyone who's interested in a short, relaxing walk through the woods with no steep hills to climb!


This Cataract Falls Sign Takes You To The Falls!!
The Cataract Trail is smooth before changing into a dirt path.

Located a half mile behind the Sugarlands Visitor's Center at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, these falls are about a fifteen minute walk, or 0.1 miles down a scenic trail.  (Before hiking to Cataract Falls, you'll want to be sure and visit Sugarlands!  It has a wildlife museum, and gift shop, and lots of interesting information about the mountains.  And during the month of June, Sugarlands offers trolley tours to Elkmont to see the famous Firefly Mating Show.)

Cataract Falls is located behind Sugarlands Visitor's Center located just beyond the gateway to the Smokies.
The Cataract hiking trail is a short, relaxing walk for young children, and older adults.

This short hike is enjoyed by most all who experience this trail, however it's not  a hike that goes deep into the woods.  From beginning to end,  you're surrounded by civilization, and you'll see automobiles, parking lots, and area development throughout the whole journey.  During the spring and summer months, you meet a lot of people coming back and forth.  When asked if seeing the falls was worth the walk, they all agreed Cataract Falls is a beautiful sight to see.

Enjoy an exquisite view from the Cataract Falls BridgePhoto Courtesy: Malia Lane
An interesting sight in the Smokies is this Cataract Falls treePhoto Courtesy: Malia Lane

The walk is down a dirt path that's flat with a foot bridge crossing a creek.  You'll pass a tree that appears quite unusual in that it has a hollow area so big that a child could fit inside.  As a matter of fact, many times they do fit inside.  This old tree is a popular play-place for children.  Another fun thing to do is watch as they play along the bridge.  It's built sturdy so parents don't have to worry about it crashing down.  

The Cataract Underpass is short and narrow.
Enjoy a nice climb up the  Cataract stairs.

As you move along, the creek merges into a bigger creek and leads underneath a road bridge.  There's a short staircase that leads directly to the falls.  The view is worth the short hike, however, you're not going to see the kind of waterfall the Smoky Mountains are famous for.  What you will see is rushing waters cascading down the rocks carrying a relaxing, serene sound that will remind you that you are indeed in the mountains.  As with all waterfalls, these falls flow much heavier after a good Smoky Mountain rain.  As you walk through the under bridge it's a good idea to move slowly as it may slippery. 

At Cataract people love to stand and enjoy the beauty of the falls
The Cataract Trail is a pleasant walk through the woods

Smokies Adventure has lots of great information on other waterfalls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park you may be interested in visiting!

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