Laurel Falls, an 80 foot tall Smoky Mountain waterfall, is named for the mountain laurel which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. Mountain laurel itself is an evergreen shrub. A walkway divides the falls which crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited. The area is especially busy on weekends year-round and on weekdays during summer.
Access trail: Laurel Falls Trail
Trailhead: From Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn toward Cades Cove on Little River Road and drive 3.5 miles to the trailhead where there are parking areas on both sides of the road.
Trail Notes: The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles and the hike is considered moderate in difficulty. It takes about 2 hours to hike to the waterfall and back.
Carry drinking water with you. Pets and bicycles are prohibited on the trail.
The trail is paved but the pavement is rough and uneven. The trail has short, steep sections which can be slippery in wet weather. Portions of the trail have steep drop-offs. Closely supervise children at all times. Due to the steep grade and roughness of pavement, this trail is not suitable for strollers or wheelchairs.
Do not climb on rocks around the waterfall. Over the years, several people have fallen to their deaths and many others have suffered serious injuries from climbing on rocks near waterfalls or along the riverbanks. These rocks are slippery due to mist and algae.