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Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel advisories, some destinations may be unavailable for certain dates. Find out more.
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Roaring Fork

Drive along this woodland loop for a range of walking trails, waterfalls and historic structures of an old mountain hamlet.

Roaring Fork is a scenic stream that flows through the dense forest of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Follow the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail for stunning views of the creek and its picturesque surroundings. Listen to the roar of the stream echoed in the area’s mountainous valleys. 

After intense rainfall, the stream becomes a rampant torrent of intense rapids. In dry weather, it gently trickles over the rocks and branches of the forest floor. Encounter the old wooden cabins that make up the Roaring Fork Historic District. These are the vestiges of an old mountain hamlet with its own school and church. See the hamlet’s former store and stop at the grist mill. 

Embark on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail through this historic area. The trail is a 5.5-mile (8.8-kilometer) automobile loop that runs through the dense woodland. Note that the road has one-way traffic and is too narrow for trucks, RVs and trailers.  

Step out of the car and take a walking tour around the historic structures of the Noah “Bud” Ogle farmstead, where you’ll find a map of the Roaring Fork attractions. From here, start the 5.4-mile (8.7-kilometer) round-trip hiking trail to find scenic Rainbow Falls. 

Get back on the road until you reach the Trillium Gap Trail, which leads to Grotto Falls. Climb to the crevasse at the back of this waterfall and see it from behind. This stunning area is ideal for a picnic, so bring snacks and drinks. Drive to the Place of a Thousand Drips to see an 80-foot (24-meter) waterfall after heavy rainfall or gentle cascades during dry weather. 

Find Roaring Fork several miles south of Gatlinburg, just inside the Cherokee Orchard entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The auto loop begins right after the Rainbow Falls trailhead. It closes in winter and extreme weather conditions. Check the national park site for specific information. Make sure to see other sights in the area, including the Sugarlands Visitor Center and Cataract Falls. Visit in spring to see lovely rhododendrons and azaleas along the roadside.


Guide to Exploring around Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail


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      3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly Gatlinburg hotel is located in a national park, within a 15-minute walk of Traffic Light #6, Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, and Gatlinburg Convention Center. Gatlinburg SkyLift Park and Gatlinburg Space Needle are also within 1 mi (2 km).

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        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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          2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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            Gatlinburg River Inn

            Gatlinburg River Inn

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              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

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              River Terrace Resort & Convention Center $79
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                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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                Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Gatlinburg Downtown

                611 Historic Nature Trail, Gatlinburg, TN
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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