© 1999 Jon Binder
Ratings (ratings explained)
Ease of Access: 7/10
Laurel Falls is a beautiful 75 foot high waterfall in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, accessible by a 1.3 mile paved trail.
From U.S. route 441 at the Sugarlands Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tennessee side), follow the Little River Road (TN 73) for 3.7 miles west to the parking area. Follow the paved trail for 1.3 miles to the falls.
Laurel Falls is a very well-visited waterfall, for a few reasons. First off, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park in general is an extremely popular area in itself - it is the most visited of all the National Parks with around 10 million visitors each year. Second, the trail to the falls, although moderately steep, is paved, and thus can be used by wheelchairs (with some difficulty) and parents with strollers. Finally, and most importantly, Laurel Falls is a very beautiful waterfall.
Take your time on the walk to the falls. Even though the trail is paved, the grade can be steep in places. Especially since the trail is often traveled by people who are not used to this type of walking, you'll see a lot of people taking frequent breaks. The forest that the walkway leads through is nice, so there's no need to rush.
At the falls, a bridge leads over the stream at the base, as the trail continues further on (unpaved). But this is your turn around point if you just came for Laurel Falls, as most users of the trail do. Relax for awhile and enjoy the scene. If it's warm, take off your shoes and walk in the water at the base of the falls, being careful not to slip. You probably won't be alone in your feet wetting.
Go to Laurel Falls for a classic Smoky Mountain waterfall, but be aware of the crowds that are also characteristic of the area. Be sure to check out the Roaring Fork Motor Trail while you are in this area.
<< Back to the List of Tennessee Waterfalls
Page Last Revised: April 2, 2002