Laurel Falls

Laurel Falls (information used from Great Smoky Mountains National Park resources)
“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. Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May.

The trail is 2.6 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty. The trail is paved and is suitable for strollers.

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.”


The literature said “2.6 miles roundtrip and the trail is paved.”

Sounded good to us!  We could do it!

We didn’t realize, however, the “paved trail” was a STEEP UP HILL climb.  OH. MY. GOODNESS.

Along the way, we stopped VERY BRIEFLY to photograph the bear that was enjoying lunch at a near by tree.

Sorry about the quality on the bear photo.  I simply didn’t hang around long enough to properly composed or expose the shot.  😉  (Taken with a 105 mm lens; cropped only enough to get rid of lens vignetting.)

This particular outing was one of those that we’re glad we did it, but probably won’t do again.  I’ll bet you know the feeling.


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7 Responses to Laurel Falls

  1. Tracy says:

    Hi, Sue! Thank you for visiting me today…Stop by my other blog, my photo blog if you get a chance sometime. Wonderful to come back and see your magical falls here… simply breathtaking! :o)

  2. I haven’t seen a waterfall in person in a long time now…thanks for reminding me how beautiful they are with these photos.

  3. Claude says:

    I like the first photo better, the diagonal flow is easier to follow.

  4. Marcie says:

    Such a beautiful place. And – the bear photo is absolutely wonderful!!!

  5. David W. Martin says:

    Not fair, I did not get a not white bear shot this summer! Welcome to the world of bear photography, allot goes on real fast does it not? I really like the waterfall shots also. I will be 61 tomorrow and my uphill hiking is take 20 steps rest five, repeat! Love your work, hang in there!

  6. Bo Mackison says:

    I’ve been on that path – about a million years ago on my honeymoon, and the path was a climb then! 🙂 Nicely rewarded with the falls shots though, a nice thing to see.

    We saw bears in the Smokies, too, a momma and two cubs and we didn’t hang around either. It’s a bit too scary deep in those woods. Nice capture of the bear though. Very nice!

  7. Toni says:

    Great shots, Sue! It’s funny, you crop out the vignetting and I add it to my shots! I ♥ vignetting. 🙂

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