Rainbow Falls Trail

#6 of 184 trails in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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.

10.31 miles Out & Back 2525 feet
hiking walking forest river rocky
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A rainbow produced by mist from this 80-foot high waterfall is visible on sunny afternoons. During extended winter cold spells, an impressive ice formation builds around the falls.

Between trailhead and falls, Rainbow Falls Trail gains about 1,500' in elevation. The 5.4 mile roundtrip hike is considered moderate to in difficulty. The Rainbow Falls Trail continues for approximately 4 miles beyond the falls to the summit of Mount Le Conte.

Toni Swarthout

3 Completed5 Reviews

Beautiful hike. More strenuous on the way up. Starts along a beautiful flowing creek with big boulders. The terrain changes on the ascent to large trees and rhododendrons. Beautiful vistas along what way. As you reach the top, you are graced with a most beautiful waterfall. The descent was mostly downhill and easy. It took us 2 hours up and 1 hour back. We saw a bear in a tree at the end of hike, which was a bonus!

Toni Swarthout

3 Completed5 Reviews

Toni Swarthout

3 Completed5 Reviews

Abbigail Vonderwell

1 Completed1 Reviews

Great! It was difficult for beginners, but doable and so worth it. Took about 1 hour and 45 minutes up and 1 hour and 20 minutes down.

Todd Larson

2 Completed2 Reviews

Good hiking trail. Well traveled course with limited parked when crowded. We went Monday morning and had to park roadside about 1/4 mile past the parking lot. Water level was down but still worth the trek. Well maintained. If you want to get back to Gatlinburg after your hike stay to the left after leaving. Much shorter that completing the loop.

Krystal Smith

13 Completed12 Reviews

Rainbow falls is a beautiful waterfall, but maybe not worth all the people you will be sharing this trail with. Even in the wee hours of the morning. Popular spot. Many birds and wildflowers. All uphill, with minimal views besides the fall. Very rocky trail, watch your step, especially after the leaves have fallen. Connector to Mt. Leconte.

Randy Belasic

9 Completed10 Reviews

It is uphill all the way and I wouldn't recommend it for a new hiker or if you don't exercise much. It was quite busy. The falls were rather thin due to no rain lately. People were climbing everywhere and it was difficult getting pics of just the falls. It is a beautiful hike.

Andrew Smith

7 Completed7 Reviews

Hike will definitely test your endurance, as it's all-incline. However, the falls are wonderful. Not as nice as people claim, but definitely worth seeing

Matthew Ezelle

26 Completed2 Reviews

Rainbow Falls is a nice waterfall, but the trail is very crowded and the views are limited. It's a moderately strenuous hike up to the falls. It's quite rocky, especially if you continue past the falls to LeConte.

Carson McCalip

6 Completed3 Reviews