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grotto falls hike

3 Things to Know About the Grotto Falls Hike

If you love the outdoors, then you should definitely take a hike at The Great Smoky Mountains National Park during your stay with us. The park has over 850 miles of trails, so there are a lot of routes to choose from! Having trouble picking? Let us give you a recommendation. Here is a list of 3 things to know about the Grotto Falls hike:

1. The Trail Description

Visitors will begin the Grotto Falls hike from the Trillium Gap trailhead and travel for 2.6 miles. Along the way, you’ll go through an old-growth forest that is rich in wildflowers during the warmer months. In fact, 1,600 species of wildflowers blossom in the Smokies every spring, some of which include the bright yellow and pink lady slippers as well as the white fringed phacelia. As for terrain, the wide and well-worn path has a few wet and rocky areas near the water. Wear closed-toed and sturdy shoes to reduce the chance of slipping. At the end of the trail, continue on for an additional 2 miles to reach the summit of Mount LeConte. At 6,593 feet, it is the second-highest peak of the Smokies.

2. You Can Walk Behind A Waterfall

grotto falls hike in the smoky mountainsHikers will reach Grotto Falls at 1.2 miles into the trail. While the waterfall itself is only 25 feet tall, It has a unique characteristic. That is, visitors can walk behind the waterfall. This is the only waterfall in the whole park that you can walk behind. It is thrilling to see and hear the plunging water up close.

3. Salamanders Are Very Populous There

The Smokies are known for their variety of wildlife. As you’re on the Grotto Falls hike, look closely around the water for salamanders. These small creatures thrive under rocks and in cool waters. You may be surprised to discover that the Great Smoky Mountains are deemed the “Salamander Capital of the World.” There are over 30 species, and they each have unique characteristics. One of them is the ability to regenerate limbs and organs, which can help them survive attacks from their bigger predators. Some salamanders can breathe through their skin, while others have gills. While salamanders don’t have vocal cords, they can still make snapping and clicking noises to communicate. They are most active during cooler times of the day, and they eat at night. Their diet consists of crickets and worms. If you do find a salamander during your search, refrain from picking it up. It is still fun to admire the vibrant colors on their skin, which can be red, blue, yellow, or black. Some may even have spots as well. Before leaving, do your best to leave the area exactly as you found it. This includes putting the salamander back on the tree or replacing any upturned rocks.

We hope you enjoyed learning about the Grotto Falls hike. Want to know about even more trails in the Smokies? Check out our other list of the top hiking trails in the Smoky Mountains with waterfalls!