Big Cascades and Even Bigger Trees, that's the theme of the Ramsey Cascades Trail. Along this Rugged trail you will encounter some record size trees while making your way to the tallest waterfall in the park accessible by trail. But don’t set out on this adventure unless you are prepared.
The upper part of this trail is about as steep and rugged as they come. While gentle at first that climb to the falls requires a mild rock scramble. Once you arrive though you will know it is all worth it. Ramsey Cascades is an absolutely beautiful waterfall with a refreshing pool at the bottom to cool off in on a hot summer day. So let's get to it.
This is Ramsey Cascades with Up N’ Adam Adventures.
When out exploring in the outdoors please always remember to practice the 7 principles of Leave No Trace. Learn how at www.lnt.org
From Gatlinburg Drive East on Us 321 for 5.9 miles and turn right on Greenbrier Road. At another 3.2 miles turn right. Travel another 1.5 mile and the road dead ends at the Ramsey Cascade Trail Head.
The trail begins by crossing a footbridge along the Middle prong of the little pigeon river. At first the trail is wide and gradual and was once an old road. You will climb through a beautiful hardwood forest while the sounds of the middle prong echo from below. At about 1.5 miles you arrive at a circle turnaround which is an old traffic circle. Here you see where Ramsey prong connects with the middle prong.
From this point the fun really begins. It's time to start sucking air. The trail narrows, becomes rudged and steepens. You will cross Ramsey Prong multiple times through this section. Some have nice foot bridges but others are a minor rock hope. During most conditions these are easy to navigate.
Be on the lookout for big old growth trees. At mile 2.6 you will walk through 2 giant Tulip Trees. Commonly called the roman columns but we like to refer to them as “The Twins”. You might be in awe of the size but the twins pale in comparison to the real giant. Just around the corner is another tulip tree that is mind boggling big.
After you have gazed in amazement at these beautiful old trees you will move on and at 2.9 miles cross a footbridge across ramsey prong. Here the trail moves away from the creek for a while into a very open forest. Eventually you will make your way back to Ramsey prong where you will start a huge ascent and some minor rock scrambling.
You will start to think you will never arrive. At 3.7 miles just before you get to Ramsey Cascades is a waterfall hidden in plain sight. This waterfall is practically on the trail but can not actually be seen from the trail. You will notice a small opening on the right. If you go here and wade through the creek you will be rewarded with a view of Ramsey Prong Falls. A nice 20 footer. However you will most likely need to get your feet wet to see it.
Hike Description continued
Now as you climb up the jagged rocks you make your way through a rodo tunnel and finally get your first view of Ramsey Cascades. A 90ft waterfall. The Tallest of any available on trail in the Smokies. In the Summer you can take your shoes off and wade in the shallow pool at the base of the falls. However, A word of caution, do not attempt to climb the rocks in this area. There have been multiple deaths from doing so. Don’t be a statistic.
That concludes our hike to Ramsey Cascade. Now you can make your way back down and enjoy a large meal in gatlinburg. Thanks for coming along on another Up N’ Adam Adventure.
Hike Description continued
Now its time to head back down to Midnight hole and cool off. However, be warned, cool off is an understatement. This water is cold. However, we do not recommend a slow introduction because that would just be a slow torture. The best to enter is to climb the rocks on the further side of the creek and jump right it all at once. Ah! Refreshing!