My wife and I hiked the Grotto Falls trail at the end of a cabin weekend in Gatlinburg. It was ~almost~ everything we could have hoped it would be. We didn't get to see much wildlife!
We arrived in the mid afternoon, and found ample parking by the trailhead. The road you take to get there is almost as scenic as the trail itself, too. Go slowly! It's a 10 mph road, with lots of twists and turns, and you won't want to miss a thing.
The trail to Grotto Falls is 1.4 miles, with lots of turns and amazing scenery. We stopped regularly for pictures or assorted Oohing and Aahing, and made the whole hike there and back in a little under an hour and a half. The trail at the top goes under the falls, so be prepared to take pictures of other groups! There were several couples at the top when we got there, and a lot of camera trading was going on so everyone could get their whole group in a picture.
There are a few places where you can climb down to the water before you actually get to the falls. Highly recommended! Some of the most scenic sites require a little rock/scrub climbing, so be sure to wear clothing and shoes you don't mind getting muddy or wet. Even if you stay on the trail entirely, you'll be crossing some water and muddy spots, so bear that in mind.
There are bathroom facilities at the trailhead. The non flushing composting toilets may be a little hard to take for delicate travelers, though. When we went the ladies' room was full of flies, which drove some visitors away without using the facilities.
An unbelievable hike. We've hiked in Lake Lure, NC, and we've ridden horses into the mountains in Colorado and Puerto Vallarta Mexico. Grotto Falls is hard to beat.
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