Meigs Falls, Tennessee

I’ve visited Great Smoky Mountains National Park a few years ago starting from Asheville, and this time approached the park from Knoxville. I didn’t have much time, and decided to check out just a few smaller falls that didn’t require much hiking. Meigs Falls is the main waterfall that shows up on searches for easy-t0-access waterfalls in the park, but I was surprised to find out (maybe not extremely surprised) to find out that there are a number of other smaller waterfalls nearby. (Entering in, it was easy to catch a view of Whiteoak Flats Branch Falls.)

Meigs Falls is really only viewed from a distance, though it’s not a terrible distance. If you know where to look, it’s as easy as pulling over to the designated parking area, getting out, and taking pictures! It’s a nice waterfall, though it isn’t as intimate as some other falls. In mid-February, the falls were definitely flowing. And it was a balmy 60 degrees, so it was enjoyable to just explore the park.

Directions:

  1. I took US-321 from Knoxville into the park. Once you’re on the Lamar Alexander Parkway, it’s pretty difficult to miss the entrance. There are signs everywhere!
  2. After entering the park, about a mile or so in, you’ll have a choice to take a right toward Cades Cove (which will lead to a number of waterfalls, including Abrams Falls) or a left toward the other park entrance and Gaitlinburg.
  3. Take a left, and drive about 5 miles along the beautiful winding, curvy road, and you will notice a pulloff to your right. If you look out, you’ll see Meigs Falls.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: roadside

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Meigs Falls in February 2016

Where in the World is Meigs Falls?

Place of a Thousand Drips, Tennessee

Just outside of Gaitlinburg, Tennessee, you can easily enter Great Smoky Mountain National Park and take a drive along the one-way Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. It’s a fascinating drive, and there are a number of waterfalls that can be accessed from the motor trail. Some of them require medium length hikes to view the falls, and on the day I was there, there was moderately consistent thunder, so I decided against those hikes.

There are a few waterfalls that can be easily viewed from the trail, though. One of them is unnamed, and is discussed here. The other, better advertised waterfall, is the Place of a Thousand Drips, which happens to be an amazingly cool name for a waterfall. I would assume it gets its name from the way it seems to split into many different drops, recombine, split again, and so on. It’s a rather fascinating view.

Directions:

  1. Head into Gaitlinburg along US-441/TN-71. (You should notice signs for the Motor Trail, but if you don’t….)
  2. If headed north into Gaitlinburg, you would turn right onto Historic Nature Trail/Cherokee Orchard Road, and essentially continue southeast along the road. The road turns into the Motor Trail inside of the park.
  3. Look for this falls on your left. It’s pretty clearly marked.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: roadside

The Place of a Thousand Drips in April 2013

Where in the World is the Place of a Thousand Drips?

Waterfall on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Tennessee

A waterfall along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (April 2013)

Great Smoky Mountain National Park is a great place to find waterfalls, and in the short time I visited, I wasn’t able to see very many of them. (It gives me a good reason to go back!) If you take the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, which is very close to Gaitlinburg (a surprisingly commercialized town), you will have the chance to visit a number of waterfalls such as Grotto and Rainbow Falls. Just plan more time!

On the day I visited, I had stopped to see Mingo Falls and Laurel Falls. The hike to Mingo Falls was shorter, Laurel Falls somewhat longer. I then stopped went into Gaitlinburg and ended up taking way more time than planned to find dinner! So once I got to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, I didn’t have a huge amount of time left to hike to some of the falls, which clock in at 5+ miles round trip. There was also some thunder around, and my brain does not particularly like thunder. So let’s just say I stuck to the main road.

You can only go one way on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, and I was paying attention for the Place of a Thousand Drips. Before I got to my planned destination, I noticed this other waterfall to my left. Luckily, the road wasn’t busy at that time (in late April), and I had the chance to stop and photograph the falls. I didn’t stay for a long time, just enough to capture the falls. I’d say it’s about 30′ tall or so (?), and I don’t know if it’s named. If you have the chance, though, take the time to enjoy this unexpected waterfall!

Directions:

  1. Head into Gaitlinburg along US-441/TN-71. (You should notice signs for the Motor Trail, but if you don’t….)
  2. If headed north into Gaitlinburg, you would turn right onto Historic Nature Trail/Cherokee Orchard Road, and essentially continue southeast along the road. The road turns into the Motor Trail inside of the park.
  3. Look for this falls on your left. If you reach the Place of a Thousand Drips, you’ve passed it, and you have to circle around again if you want to see it.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 30′
Length of Hike: roadside

Where in the World is the Waterfall on the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail?