It’s easy to have tons of fun exploring downtown Gatlinburg, but if you don’t wander about, you’ll miss a beautiful place just a few miles from our hotel. The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is like a forest fantasyland with all kinds of natural and man-made history at every turn. We’ll give you 4 good reasons to take the trek on this 5.5-mile, one-way road.
1. Old Farmsteads
The first farmstead you’ll see at the beginning is the Noah “Bud” Ogle farmstead, where you can also take a walking tour around this area. The Ephraim Bales cabin is also located along this nature trail, and it contains several additional buildings that contained food supplies and equipment vital to survival. The Alfred Reagan home is neat, because near the home is a tub mill that is still operational. Overall, this provides a great educational opportunity for the entire family to see how these families lived.
2. Hiking Trails
It’s amazing just how much the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail provides in the way of outdoor activities in less than 6 miles. With all the trails in the entire Smoky Mountains, however, it shouldn’t be a surprise. These aren’t trails for the faint of heart, as the Trillium Gap Trail will take you all the way up Mt. Leconte, and the Rainbow Falls Trail is another strenuous 5.4-mile journey. (Note: Due to maintenance work, the Rainbow Falls Trail is closed Monday to Thursday through November 15).
3. Wonderful Waterfalls
You can still take one of these hikes and enjoy a spectacular display without going the entire distance of the trail. The Trillium Gap Trail can be hiked until reaching the uniquely awesome Grotto Falls, which is the only falls in the park you can walk behind. This is especially popular with the kids, and it’s just under a mile and a half to this waterfall. At the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is Place of a Thousand Drips. This is a fantastic view with dozens of different falls with lightly flowing water drips. It’s a peaceful ending to this trail you’ll love!
4. Mountain Streams
The trail is named this way because of the “roaring” mountain stream that runs through it. While it can definitely be that way during rainy periods, it can be quite calm and peaceful to take in. Be sure to bring your camera, since there are endless opportunities for scenery so sensational, that you’ll want to consider a career as a Smoky Mountain photographer. Believe us when we say it’s a wonderful way to spend a day in this visual-filled environment full of wonder!
We believe you’ll enjoy a day trip to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail for many reasons — even more than what we’ve listed. This is an easy drive to take, and it’s great for not being too far from our downtown Gatlinburg hotel. If you want to stay in a wonderful location close to everything great about the Smokies, book a room with us to have an excellent vacation!