While in the gorgeous Great Smoky Mountains you should save plenty of time to drive or hike the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, the perfect way to see it all! Roaring Falls is a mountain stream larger and faster than any other in the surrounding parkland, thus the name Roaring Fork. The stream lines the narrow and winding Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, the absolutely breathtaking 5.5 mile long one-way loop that highlights the vistas of the surrounding forest and historic buildings. The various streams, old growth forest, log cabins, grist mills, and other various historic buildings here along the motor trail and hiking trail-heads make this an absolute favorite visitor side trip while in Gatlinburg.
This motor nature trail is closed during the winter and also during inclement weather, so before heading over, be sure to check online or at the visitor center for daily closings. Start the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail at Noah "Bud" Ogle’s Nature Trailhead, a beautiful place in which you and your group can take a self-guided tour of the historic Ogle’s farmstead, surrounded on each side by hardwood forest and wildflower gardens. Here you can see a historic stream tubmill and wooden flume plumbing. Take the trail-head at Rainbow Falls for a moderate 5.4 mile round trip to see one of the park’s most popular attractions, the massive cascading 80 foot falls, the highest in the park. You can also choose to take the trail-head at Trillium Gap, which lead to the 25 foot Grotto Falls as well as "wet weather" Place of a Thousand Drips Falls (or do them both!). Be sure to bring good hiking boots, plenty of water and sunscreen, and a camera to capture all the gorgeous Smoky Mountain moments along the way!