Rainbow Falls Trail

#6 of 184 trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

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Rainbow Falls Trail is a 5.7 mile out and back trail located near Cosby, Tennessee that features a waterfall. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking & walking and is accessible year-round.

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Joseph Sarbello (254)

18 Completed1 Reviews

Excellent day hike adventure. Memorial Day weekend '15. Left early to start trailhead by 9am. Good thing spots filled up quickly. I'm 47 And my wife is 52 after hip replacement surgery. We got to the falls in about 2 hrs, all up hill with rocky terrain on trail. Only about a dozen people there at 11am. Ate a quick 1/2 lunch , pics, etc. Continued on to summit (end of Rainbow Falls trail). Didn't quit make actual Cote summit but we made our Summit about 5800'. Trail is not crowded at all beyond the falls. Most people turn back at the falls , if they even make it. Many tried for summit but turned around way before us. Falls are less than 1/2 way to the summit. I rate the trail strenuous and harder than expected. I've hiked to 13,200' in the Rockies and although this is much lower peak it was almost as difficult. My wife was a trooper but the ascent eventually became too much - snails pace so we missed the Cote. Our trip backdown the trail was a different planet almost. It was packed from the Falls down, about 100 people at the falls around 2 pm. A LOT of people underprepared. People in flip flops, no water, Cologne - it was like Main St in Gatlinburg. 7 hours round trip at a slower pace than I'm used to but the trail was worth it. My advice if on a holiday weekend, be prepared and get there EARLY!

Shana Standifer (45)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Seen lots of chipmunks! Nice scenery

Jana Hays (363)

11 Completed7 Reviews

This trail is very nice, but in my opinion strenuous. The trail is steep and it took us about 2,5 hours to get up there. We went on Monday afternoon so there weren't many people and we really enjoyed it! Definitely not suitable for children! There are lots of boulders, sharp stones, fallen trees and some sections of the trail are very muddy. The falls are very beautiful though and you will totally love it! :)

Randall Nicely (63)

1 Completed1 Reviews

Had a great hike but fell on the ice and broke my arm... Still beautiful seeing the falls frozen. I'm sure we will go again, but not when the trail is iced over!!

Lizz Dobmeyer (545)

7 Completed7 Reviews

Beautiful hike! Had a few issues with some minor ice, but totally worth it. :D

Sarah Kirby (244)

4 Completed1 Reviews

Gorgeous hike! Extremely icy, but to be expected this time of year.

Heidi Cheeks (137)

5 Completed5 Reviews

Love this trail! Even in winter! The weather was mild for a new year's weekend hike although fog came up with some very light rain. Beautiful hike. Not for the casual hiker. I've been on more difficult than this, and its less than 6 miles. Took us about 3.5 hrs.

Mellissa Hayden (668)

20 Completed16 Reviews

I did this trail on 11/29/2014 for the first time. We didn't thoroughly look into the trail before we left and did not realize how HARD this trail was from trailhead to Leconte. It was snowy and icy, and the falls weren't too spectacular. We made the trip to LeConte in about 5 hours, came down Bullhead, and all in all was 9 hours round trip.
Nice trail with not as many views as Bullhead. Very rocky. Glad I did it but will probably never do it again.

Jackie Hale (861)

15 Completed15 Reviews

Abigail Tewmey (39)

1 Completed1 Reviews

I had wonderful time Hiking Rainbow Trails. Only problem we had was once we got to the top it started to rain so we slid back down. Trails were ok marked but coming down with as much as it had rain we did get off a little at the very end. Overall it is a must do! Want to go back next spring.