sunrise over Gatlinburg, Tennessee

Top 5 Smoky Mountain National Park Waterfalls Off the Beaten Path

spruce flats falls
September 10, 2023

Anyone who visits the Smoky Mountains probably wants to see at least one waterfall while they are in town! But maybe you don’t want to hit all of the popular spots because you want to avoid crowds of people so you can see some incredible Smoky Mountain waterfalls. Luckily, there are plenty of spots in the mountains where you can get away from it all and see these beautiful natural features! Check out these top 5 Smoky Mountain National Park waterfalls off the beaten path:

1. Baskins Creek Falls

baskins creek falls

A beautiful waterfall you will want to see in person is Baskins Creek Falls. The hiking trail to get there is considered moderate, and the roundtrip length is 3 miles. At the beginning of the trail, you’ll start out with a short, easy climb. Then, the trail levels out, and there are incredible mountain views from the path. You’ll cross over a couple of creeks, and then you will descend down the trail to where the waterfall is. Baskins Creek Falls is 40 feet tall and has 2 tiers, and you’ll love seeing this breathtaking waterfall!

2. Spruce Flats Falls

Another Smoky Mountain National Park waterfall off the beaten path you’ll want to see is Spruce Flats Falls. The trail to get to the waterfall technically isn’t on the official national park map, but it is well worn with plenty of people hiking to see the falls. The roundtrip length is 1.8 miles, and you’ll make your way through the woods until you reach the part of the trail where it descends towards the falls. Spruce Flats Falls has 4 tiers, and it has a total drop of 30 feet.

3. Meigs Falls

meigs falls

Meigs Falls is actually one of the only waterfalls in the park you can drive by! As you’re driving along Little River Road, you might spot the waterfall between Metcalf Bottoms and the Townsend “Y.” While seeing the falls from the road is beautiful, there’s nothing like seeing it in person! Meigs Falls Trail is a moderate trail with a roundtrip length of 6.5 miles. You’ll hike through dense forest and cross a few creeks before you reach the waterfall that stands at 18 feet tall.

4. Hen Wallow Falls

A beautiful Smoky Mountain National Park waterfall you’ll want to see is Hen Wallow Falls. To get to the falls, you’ll make your way through a hemlock and rhododendron forest. You’ll cross creeks on footbridges and enjoy the wooded views. When you reach the waterfall, you’ll definitely be impressed by its sheer size at 90 feet tall! Hen Wallow Falls is also considered a horsetail waterfall, because the top is 2 feet wide while the base is 20 feet wide!

5. Fern Branch Falls

fern branch falls

Fern Branch Falls is another waterfall you’ll want to hike to while you’re in town. To get to this waterfall, you’ll need to take Porters Creek Trail, an easy trail that is 4 miles roundtrip. You’ll pass old homestead remains, beautiful wildflowers, and footbridges over the creek. About 2 miles in, you’ll see Fern Branch Falls standing at 60 feet tall!

You’ll enjoy hiking to these Smoky Mountain National Park waterfalls off the beaten path. Looking for more popular waterfalls to explore? Check out these waterfalls in the Smoky Mountains you need to see.