Throughout the beautiful Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there are many different things for the whole family to see, including a large number of waterfalls. One of the best of these, however, is called Laurel Falls.
The scenery is almost unbelievably gorgeous in the Smokies, and this is because of the rain that the top of the mountains receive each year. While the rainfall near Gatlinburg is about 57 inches per year, the tops of the mountains near there can receive up to as many as 83. This means that there is a constant watering going on, providing a constant supply of water in the streams and enabling a lush plant growth all summer long.
Waterfalls are abundant, but Laurel Falls is especially pretty. Out of all of the falls in the area, this one is certainly one of the most popular. The falls themselves are about 80 feet high, and the water tumbles over many rocks on the way down, providing a great scene for taking pictures.
Getting to the falls will mean a hike of about 1.3 miles. The trail is paved and rather level. Strollers can be taken on the trail easily. The only problems may come after you have walked about a mile. At that point, the trail starts to descend toward the Laurel Fork Gorge which is at the base of the Falls. The descent really is not bad, it is a drop of about 300 feet.
Once at the falls, you and the family can have a lot of fun. You can eat a lunch and enjoy the view, go wading or swimming, or just get some great pictures - or all of the above. If you want to see the falls when they have the most water going over them, you will certainly want to come during the spring or fall - particularly after there has been some rain in the few days earlier.
If you still want to do some hiking, you can go on the trail beyond the falls. The trail beyond the falls is not paved, but it is clearly marked. Just continue taking the Laurel Falls Trail and you will come to the Little Greenbriar Trail. Until you come to the Greenbriar Trail, it is a slow but steady climb. The last part of the Greenbriar Trail will bring you to Cove Mountain after about a mile. When you intersect with the Cove Mtn. Trail it will lead you to the Visitor's Center at Sugarland.
Another place to go from the falls is to follow the trails to Bryan Overlook. This could prove to be a little more difficult walk, possibly even much more difficult, but it is not far away. It will be about 1.3 miles round trip, but would be well worth the trip.
If you really enjoy seeing waterfalls, there are many other ones in the area. In fact, nearly every stream has waterfalls somewhere along their course. Once you have visited Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN, be sure to get a map and stop by some of the other ones. Some of them, such as the Meigs Falls and the Place of a Thousand Drips can be seen from the road, and the best time to see them is after there has been some rain.
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