Tag Archives: Rainbow Falls

Hiking Rainbow Falls Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains

A friend and I hiked to Rainbow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park at the end of February this year – a 5.4 mile round trip hike.   It was my first time to see these beautiful falls.  The day was a perfect day for hiking the trail,  blue, cloudless skies and a temperature of high 50’s which felt pretty warm compared to the 20 – 30 F weather we’d just been experiencing.  All of the snow had melted, but there was still some ice on the trail making a couple of places a little tricky to navigate.  In the slide show I’ve attached you’ll see several ice formations seen along the river as well as the falls.  We took a small lunch with us, and sat on large rocks next to the Willis Baxter Cabin.  This cabin is on the way to the falls on the Maddron Bald Trail, and is a one room cabin with a fireplace and no windows.  In today’s age, you can’t help but have a tremendous amount of respect for those who lived during these times.  To me it is a wonder that there can be so many different ice shapes that naturally form on the LeConte Creek.  Rhododendron buds are getting bigger and preparing to bloom sometime in June. The path, itself, is really rocky and there are also a lot of tree/bush roots on the trail making it a little challenging as you go up approximately 1500 feet in elevation. The falls are 80 feet high and are the highest single-drop waterfall in the smokies!! During extended winter cold spells, an impressive ice formation builds around the falls.  You’ll see this in the slide show!