One of the most popular scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains is the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a one way loop road that travels for 5.5 miles along one of the largest streams in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! The road offers beautiful views of the Roaring Fork stream, glimpses of an old-growth forest and the chance to see several well preserved historical structures! You’ll also want to spend some extra time stopping to visit some of the fantastic hiking trails, so be sure to explore these top 3 hikes along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail:
1. Baskins Creek Falls Trail
The Baskins Creek Falls Trail is a 3 mile round trip trail that leads to a 40 foot, two-tiered waterfall that just so happens to be the perfect spot for a picnic lunch! Since this trail is relatively easy, it makes a nice stop for families driving along the motor trail who want to see a spectacular waterfall! The Baskins Creek Falls Trail is also one of the more secluded hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so you’ll have the benefit of less crowds during peak periods. The hike begins with a short quarter mile climb, then begins a rapid descent shortly after crossing the water. The last 50 yards or so down to Baskins Creek Falls is fairly steep and rugged, but it’s well worth the effort!
2. Trillium Gap Trail
For those who prefer a more strenuous hike, consider stopping to experience at least part of the Trillium Gap Trail! The entire trail is an all-day hike that is nearly 14 miles roundtrip with more than 3,400 feet in elevation change, making it an excellent destination for avid hikers who want to be rewarded with stunning views from the top of Mount LeConte! However, you can hike just a few miles of the Trillium Gap Trail to enjoy some of the gorgeous wildflowers that grow in the area. You’ll also find Grotto Falls about 1.5 miles into the hike, a 25 foot tall waterfall that may take you by surprise with its sheer power! Since the trail actually passes behind Grotto Falls, many folks like to stop at this point to take a few photos with their family and friends.
3. Grapeyard Ridge Trail
Another one of the hikes that you’ll want to explore along Roaring Fork is the Grapeyard Ridge Trail, a moderately difficult trail that is 5.8 miles roundtrip. This is an excellent choice for history buffs as the hike features several 19th century homesteads, old cemeteries, crumbling rock walls and other historical sites! The trail gets its name from the heavy grapevines entwined in its hemlocks, red oaks, and other trees, so this is also a wonderful hike for those who love natural beauty!
Check out all of the rooms at our hotel in downtown Gatlinburg today to stay just minutes away from the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail! We look forward to welcoming you to the Smoky Mountains!