Roaring Fork

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

With more than 2,000 miles of streams, Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the United States. The reason for all the beautiful waterfalls is simple; the Smokies have the two prerequisites for stunning cascades, ample rainfall and elevation change.

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is the best place to experience several of these waterfalls in one area off the beaten path. This narrow, winding road offers glimpses of old growth forest, historic buildings and two of the most famous waterfalls in the park, Grotto Falls and Place of 1,000 Drips.

Grotto Falls is a 25-foot waterfall that is accessible via a short hike from Roaring Fork road. The waterfall is unique because visitors can walk behind the waterfall to experience its true beauty. Exercise extreme caution when walking around waterfalls as the rocks tend to be slippery and covered with algae.

Place of 1,000 Drips is visible from the Roaring Fork road and is one of the most unique sites in the park. During wet periods the effect is dramatic as water splits into numerous channels and appears to be coming out of several different channels, or as the name suggests, 1,000 places.

When to Go:

The best time to visit the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is during the wet season to see the waterfalls at full strength. April and May are some of the best months to visit. The road is closed in winter.


N35° 40.7202', W083° 28.8444'

Getting There:

To access Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, turn off the main parkway in Gatlinburg, TN at traffic light #8 and follow Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance to the national park. Just beyond the Rainbow Falls trailhead you’ll see the one-way Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Road Conditions:

This narrow, paved road winds for six miles beside rich forests, waterfalls and streams. Buses, trailers and motor homes are not permitted on the motor nature trail.

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