Hike to the Ramsey Cascades

Ramsey Cascades Trailhead

Hike to one of the tallest waterfalls in the park (100 ft) on a challenging trail through old-growth forest.

This multi-tiered waterfall is known as the tallest in the park – a worthwhile reward for the steep and sometimes tricky terrain you'll face on the way up.

The popular route to the falls also passes through an impressive old-growth forest, which apparently boasts some of the tallest trees in the park. You will also see smaller waterfalls and pools along the way.

Keep in mind that about 2 miles into the hike, you will need to pass over a fairly long, narrow footbridge. Also please remember that climbing is prohibited on the rocks around the falls.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Water
  • Sun protection
  • Bear spray
  • Snacks
Show More
RT Distance 8 Miles
Elevation Gain 2190 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Go Chasing Waterfalls

Getting to the trailhead can be tricky for anyone with a sports car, as the road that leads through the park is gravel and bumpy at points. Be prepared for single car width portions of the road. The hike begins with a gradual incline which may fool some into believing that this is an easy hike, psyche!The last half mile is killer, be prepared for a lot of stone steps. This is definitely a hike where you want to wear high ankles boots. I recommend bringing aqua socks, because at the top you can walk right up to the falls, since it plateaus directly underneath. The hike totaled 8.2 miles on my Fitbit Surge. The difficulty of the hike is only surpassed by the reward of the falls.

Difficult But Worth It!

This hike was absolutely amazing I would do it again tomorrow if I could. If your looking for a challenge with a great reward this is the hike for you. There was a sign that said it was closed but we drove 1hr30min to get there so we just went for it. One of the foot bridges was out so we hopped rocks across that part. The last 2 miles are the most difficult. We practically ran the whole way down. We got there at 10 and ended at 230. We spent about 45 min at the top and stopped 3 or 4 times along the way. Bring lunch and beer for the top!

This. Trail. Is. Difficult.

This trail is EXHAUSTING! It feels much longer than 8 miles. It is an out and back trail with absolutely beautiful views and the sound of the creek almost the entire way to the falls. HOWEVER, this trail is up hill the entire way to the falls. No flat land and many, MANY rocks. You will need good hiking boots and I'd recommend a walking stick. We started the trail at 4 in the afternoon and ended up hiking in the dark, not returning to our vehicle until 9. Once you get to the top, it is breathtaking. These are the largest falls in the smokies at 20 feet high. I would not recommend swimming since its very slick and rock and basically if you slip and fall you will die. This was the hardest trail I have done this far but it was the best reward at the end. Coming back isn't as bad as going up since its all down hill. Just watch your step.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Hike to Fern Branch Falls

Take Porters Creek Trail, a gravel road alongside Porters Creek. You will pass by an old farmstead and cemetery, as well as lots of wildflowers if you're out during the spring.

79 Saves

Sunrise Hike to Myrtle Point, Mt. Leconte

Coming from the backcountry shelter at the top of Mt. Leconte (add .2 miles if coming from the Lodge), head east on the Boulevard Trail and follow signs to Myrtle Point, 1 mile away.

282 Saves

Hike Grotto Falls Trail

This is an intermediate hike along Trillium Gap Trail. There are four stream crossings on your way to the falls, as you hike through an idyll, often wildflower-sprinkled landscape.

407 Saves