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Rainbow Falls Trail

Rainbow Falls Trail


Page Type: Route

Location: Tennessee, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 35.65420°N / 83.4369°W

Object Title: Rainbow Falls Trail

Route Type: Hike

Time Required: Most of a day

Difficulty: Walk-up

Route Quality: 
 - 9 Votes


Page By: sshankle

Created/Edited: Jan 7, 2002 / Apr 6, 2006

Object ID: 156064

Hits: 5013 

Page Score: 71.06%  - 1 Votes 

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From Gatlinburg, go south on Cherokee Orchard Road. Start at Rainbow Falls Trailhead off Cherokee Orchard Road.

Route Description

Follow Rainbow Falls Trail for 6.0 miles to intersection of Bull Head Trail. Follow Bull Head West past lodge and shelter. Go about 0.2 miles past shelter. When you are at what seems to be the hights point, look south. 10 yards South of trail is rock pile at summit. Rumor is that the tradition is to place a rock on the pile when you summit to one day make Leconte higher than Clingmans Dome.

Check out these pics of Rainbow Falls. It is a pretty impressive sight.

Rainbow Falls, March 5 2005....
Rainbow Falls

Descend same route, Trillium Gap or Bull Head Trail back to trail head.

This trailhead is at 2560'. With the summit at 6593', this is a bretty big day by Eastern US standards. 4033' of elevation gain is more than many of the Colorado 14ers!

Rainbow Falls Topo
Trail Topo

General GSMNP Trail Map

Essential Gear

Day pack only is required. Trails can be icy in winter. Definitely take poles. Ranger mentioned some people use the hiker's slip on cleats/crampons.

Don't forget your 10 essentials. This is a pretty big day with alot of elevation gain for a dayhike.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.


Red SquirrelLeConte Creek in SnowRainbow Falls in SnowUnnamed Falls, LeConte CreekBridge at Rainbow FallsRhododendrons in SnowPine Branch against Bull Head
Snowy LeConte Creek