12. Ramsey Cascades
Ramsey Cascades is the tallest waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, at 100 feet high. It is also one of the most challenging to reach, requiring an 8-mile round-trip hike with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. However, the hike is well worth it for the stunning views of the waterfall and the surrounding old-growth forest.
The Ramsey Cascades Trail begins at the Greenbrier Trailhead, located on the northeastern side of the park. The first mile of the trail is relatively flat and follows an old logging road. However, the trail quickly becomes steeper and more challenging as it climbs the mountainside.
At around 2.5 miles, the trail crosses a stream and enters an old-growth forest. This section of the trail is particularly beautiful, with towering trees and lush vegetation.
At about 4 miles, the trail reaches a series of switchbacks that lead to the top of the falls. The views from the top are simply breathtaking. The waterfall cascades down a rocky cliff into a pool below.
Visitors can hike to the bottom of the falls for a closer look. However, the trail down to the bottom is very steep and slippery, so caution is advised.
Ramsey Cascades is a popular destination for hikers, but it is important to be prepared before attempting the hike. The trail is strenuous and can be dangerous in wet or icy conditions. Be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and bring plenty of water and snacks.
Here are some additional tips for hiking to Ramsey Cascades:
- Start early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day.
- Take your time and pace yourself. The hike is long and challenging, so don't try to rush it.
- Be aware of your surroundings and watch for wildlife, such as snakes and bears.
- Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
Ramsey Cascades is a truly incredible waterfall, and the hike to reach it is an unforgettable experience. If you are looking for a challenging but rewarding hike, Ramsey Cascades is the perfect destination for you.