Laurel Falls is an 80 foot 2 tier Waterfall that flows down Laurel Branch.
Laurel Falls is an 80 foot 2 tier Waterfall that flows down Laurel Branch. It is given its name from the Mountain Laurels that bloom there in early summer. The trail was once an access point to the Cove Mountain fire tower as it continues on past the falls for a 8 mile round trip hike if you choose to do that.
The hike to Laurel falls is a very easy out and back trail at only 1.3 miles (2.6 round Trip). While this trail is paved we do not recommend wheelchairs and Strollers. The pavement is broken up in spots which would make navigating it very difficult.
It is widely considered the most popular trail in the Smoky Mountains. On a busy summer day there is barely room to stand and the parking lot will be full by 8am. So as usual, we recommend starting your trek to Laurel Falls very early.
The Trail starts with a gentle climb along a paved path. Along the way it will cross multiple tributaries and Mountain Laurels can be seen all along the way if hiking in May. The forest is thick with hardwoods. You may notice numbered markers along the trail as you ascend. These numbers correspond to features along the trail identified by a pamphlet that can be purchased at the TrailHead.
The trail winds it way up until it plateaus at about 1 mile and becomes level with a slight downhill grade. At this point there are some openings where you will start to have a view of Sugarland Mtn. At 1.3 miles you will arrive at Laurel falls between the 2 tiers. There is a foot bridge that takes you across to the other side. Make you way across this footbridge and you will find a nice wooden bench for viewing. Please be careful and watch kids closely because there is no railing in this area and if not watching out one could fall off the Lower tier of the falls.
There is a route to the lower falls back across the footbridge. We do not recommend taking this route. It is quite the rock scramble and people have fallen and been seriously injured. If you choose to make your way down to the lower tier be extremely careful and do so at your own risk.
Entrance to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park remains free to the public. But, as of March 1st, 2023 parking passes are required for stops longer than 15 minutes inside the park. Please follow the link below for all the latest information from the National Park Service on where to purchase parking passes, and pricing.