Rainbow Falls Trail is Getting a Makeover with Two-Year Rehabilitation Project

The Rainbow Falls Trail in the Smoky Mountains.
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The Rainbow Falls Trail is getting a makeover! This hugely popular trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is currently undergoing a major rehabilitation project that will last two years. Located near the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, the Rainbow Falls Trail leads to a gorgeous 80-foot high waterfall and to Mount LeConte, the third highest peak in the Smoky Mountains.The rehabilitation work on the trail will have an impact on hikers. To help you plan your next vacation, Visit My Smokies has put together a guide to visiting the Rainbow Falls Trail during the restoration project.

Rainbow Falls Trail is Open on Weekends

From May 8, 2017 – November 16, 2017, the Rainbow Falls Trail will be closed for rehabilitation each week on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The closing of the trail will be in effect from 7 a.m. on Monday mornings until 5:30 p.m. on Thursday evenings.

During this time period, the Rainbow Falls Trail will be fully open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The trail will also be open on federal holidays, including Independence Day, Labor Day, and Columbus Day.

(See Also: National Park Service Reveals Top 5 Most Popular Hikes in the Smoky Mountains)

foggy hiking trailRainbow Falls Parking Lot Closure

From May 8, 2017 – June 15, 2017, the parking lot at the Rainbow Falls trailhead on Cherokee Orchard Loop Road will be closed on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. After the 15th, the parking lot will be open so hikers can access the Trillium Gap Trail connector trail and the Old Sugarlands Trail.

Improvements to Rainbow Falls Trail

The rehabilitation project for the Rainbow Falls Trail is being completed by the Trails Forever organization. Crews will focus on reducing trail braiding and improving drainage along the trail to prevent erosion.

Tobias Miller, the Trails and Roads Facility Manager for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, has told media outlets that the work on the Rainbow Falls Trail will be “a long-term solution to the various safety and route finding issues found along this section of the Rainbow Falls Trail and will allow visitors to enjoy the trail and the scenic areas surrounding it safely for years to come.”

Trails Forever is a unique partnership between the Friends of the Smokies charity and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Friends of the Smokies has donated over $1 million to fund restoration projects on popular trails in the park, including the Alum Cave Trail and the Forney Ridge Trail. The Trails Forever crews are made up of professionals and volunteers from the local community.

A trail to Mount LeConte in the Smoky Mountains.Alternate Routes to Mount LeConte

As noted earlier in this article, the Rainbow Falls Trail is one of the most popular ways to reach the top of Mount LeConte. Fortunately, there are a number of other trails that lead to LeConte’s summit. Here are a few great options:

  • Trillium Gap Trail
  • Alum Cave Trail
  • Boulevard Trail
  • Brushy Mountains Trail

For more information about everything to see and do in the Smokies, check out our guide to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park!


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