Rainbow Falls Trail

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 35.65420°N / 83.4369°W
Additional Information Route Type: Hike
Additional Information Time Required: Most of a day
Additional Information Difficulty: Walk-up
Sign the Climber's Log


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 TopoTrail 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.



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.