The hike to Grotto Falls is off the Roaring Fork Motor Trail and begins at the Trillium Gap Trailhead. As you move along, you'll enjoy an old-growth forest, and see lots of wildlife. The path is well-worn, however, the trail has been rated as moderate to difficult. This trail tends to become a bit muddy especially after a good Smoky Mountain rainfall.
Hiking the falls is three miles round trip. It takes about three hours so pack your backpack with all the hiking necessities and wear good walking shoes. Be prepared for whatever wildlife you may encounter. Stay alert! This area is considered a more populated area for the black bear.
You'll walk about 1.2 miles before Grotto Falls comes into view. The falls stand about 25 feet high. Luckily, there is a cool, shaded place to relax (especially during the summer) Folks love visiting the many waterfalls in the Smokies. Grotto Falls is the only one that allows you to actually walk behind the water! It's as though you are hearing the sounds of roaring thunder as you move behind the falls! You can also feel the water as it plunges into the cool pool that stands in front of you
As with any of the falls, it's always wise to walk carefully and watch your step. The area is very slippery, and wet, especially behind the falls. Keep in mind that the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is closed during the winter months. It shuts down in December, and does not reopen until mid-march. These Falls are still accessible during the winter months by going onto the Cherokee Orchard Loop Road and hiking from the Rainbow Falls Trailhead. It does takes a bit longer, and adds another 3.4 miles to the hike round trip.
PETS AND BICYCLES ARE NOT ALLOWED ON THE TRAIL! CHILDREN SHOULD BE SUPERVISED CLOSELY!
For more information about the falls, or the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, call the Great Smoky Mountains National Park office for a recorded message at (865) 346-1200, or mail any inquiries to:
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
107 Park Headquarters Road
Gatlinburg, TN 37738
For more information, click this on this link: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF MALIA LANE