Ramsey Cascades Path Information within the Smoky Mountains – Bearfoot Concept


The Ramsey Cascades Path is without doubt one of the finest hikes in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, that includes the park’s largest waterfall and the prospect to discover an old-growth forest. Situated on the northeastern facet of the park, Ramsey Cascades stays off the crushed path and gives an awesome reprieve from the crowds discovered in lots of different components of the park.

Nevertheless, accessing the gorgeous waterfall received’t come straightforward. It requires a difficult 8-mile spherical journey hike with over 2,000 ft of elevation achieve, however the trek is price it!

Use this Ramsey Cascades path information to assist plan your go to to the Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park to see the gorgeous Ramsey Cascades waterfall.

All photographs under courtesy of Sarah Vaughan

Ramsey Cascades Path Fundamentals

  • Path Options: Tallest waterfall within the Smokies, old-growth forest
  • Distance: 8 miles spherical journey
  • Elevation Achieve: 2,250 ft
  • Time: 4.5-7 hours (it took me 5 hours)
  • Problem: Difficult
  • Trailhead begin: Ramsey Cascades Trailhead (Greenbrier space)
  • Canine Allowed: No
Ramsey Cascades waterfall long exposure
Ramsey Cascades Waterfall

Greatest Time to Hike the Ramsey Cascades Path

The finest time to hike Ramsey Cascades is in the course of the fall from September via early November when the gorgeous Smoky Mountain’s fall colours are on full show! In case you aren’t in a position to go to in the course of the fall, spring (April to Could) can also be a good time to hike the Ramsey Cascades Path because of milder temperatures.

Through the summer time, temperatures at decrease elevations continuously high 90 levels Fahrenheit and the warmth brings hazy skies. That being stated, a lot of the Ramsey Cascades hike is effectively shaded, so if you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains in the course of the summer time, this hike continues to be an awesome choice! Through the winter, snow is feasible though not very frequent, and freezing situations may cause the path to change into icy and slick. All the time verify the park web site for present closures and situations.

Be aware: The Ramsey Cascades Path can be closed Monday via Thursday from Could 2nd to November seventeenth in 2022 to conduct path rehabilitation. The path will nonetheless be open Friday via Sunday throughout this time.

Series of small waterfalls cascading down stream lined with colorful fall foliage in Great Smoky National Park
Fall is without doubt one of the finest seasons to go to for the altering colours and delicate temperatures

How Lengthy Does it Take to Hike Ramsey Cascades?

It is a difficult hike with 2,250 ft of elevation achieve over 4 miles to the Ramsey Cascades waterfall. The ultimate mile to the falls could be very steep with rocky, muddy terrain and slick roots to navigate. As such, you need to count on the Ramsey Cascades hike to take anyplace from 4.5 hours as much as 7 hours, relying in your tempo.

I accomplished the hike in 5 hours transferring at a reasonably constant tempo, with a 30-minute relaxation on the waterfall.

Attending to the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead

The trailhead for Ramsey Cascades is situated 35 minutes from Cosby, Tennessee, and half-hour from Gatlinburg, Tennessee on the northeastern facet of Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park.

From US-321, flip onto Greenbriar Highway and proceed for about 3 miles earlier than taking a left flip onto Ramsey Prong Highway and persevering with for 1.5 miles till you attain the trailhead. Each Greenbriar Highway and Ramsey Prong Highway aren’t paved and change into slender in sections, however are pretty well-maintained and usually don’t require 4WD.

Ramsey Cascades Path Information

Beginning the Hike

From the parking zone on the trailhead, you’ll virtually instantly cross a picket footbridge over the Center Prong Little Pigeon River. From there, the path follows alongside an outdated fireplace street on the northern financial institution of the river, gaining elevation at a reasonable tempo.

At 1.5 miles into the hike, the path crosses over the river once more, providing a large log as a bridge and a railing on one facet for help. There are a number of extra bridges like this alongside the path and I discovered it helpful to have my trekking poles for further stability.

Because of the difficult nature of the hike and the extra distant location of the trailhead, Ramsey Cascades Path tends to be much less crowded than lots of the different nice hikes in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park. Take a second to benefit from the peace and quiet of the forest, with solely the sound of birds chirping and water flowing.

Narrow wooden log footbridge crossing river in Great Smoky National Park with handrail on one side.
The slender footbridges could be slippery, so take your time when crossing them

Previous Progress Forest

As you proceed farther alongside the Ramsey Cascades Path, you start to enter one of many Smoky Mountains largest old-growth forests! So what precisely is an old-growth forest? Earlier than the Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park was established in 1926, a lot of the world was harvested for lumber.

An old-growth forest is any part of the forest that was by no means cleared. Which means that the bushes discovered within the space are very outdated, and as such, very giant! You’ll know if you’ve entered the old-growth forest by the large bushes that tower over the forest with enormous leaves making a lush cover above.

Trail in woods lined with colorful fall foliage leaves in Great Smoky National Park
Benefit from the lovely old-growth forest as you make your means as much as Ramsey Cascades

Ultimate Climb to Ramsey Cascades

The miles will fly by as you meander via the gorgeous old-growth forest stuffed with distinctive sorts of crops, moss-covered logs, and the most important leaves you’ve ever seen.

The ultimate one mile or so earlier than reaching Ramsey Cascades is probably the most difficult a part of the hike. At this level, the path narrows and turns into very steep, rocky, and root-covered. It’ll definitely get your thighs burning, however push on and also you’ll arrive on the falls very quickly!

Ramsey Cascades Waterfall

After about 4 miles of climbing and a pair of,250 ft of elevation achieve, your onerous work is paid off if you lastly catch a glimpse of the gorgeous Ramsey Cascades waterfall. Water cascades 100 ft over an enormous pile of boulders, amassing in a number of small swimming pools under the falls.

These swimming pools are recognized to be house to an considerable inhabitants of salamanders, that are effectively camouflaged in opposition to the rocks. The salamanders have a tendency to put their eggs beneath rocks, so it’s vital that you don’t transfer or stack rocks on this space to protect these weak creatures.

The slabs of rock under Ramsey Cascades make for the right spot to relaxation, cool off, and benefit from the view. Please don’t try to proceed previous this spot, or climb to the highest of the falls because the slick rock and speeding water could be very harmful! When you’ve soaked within the views, return again the best way you got here and comply with the path to return to the parking zone.

Enjoyable reality: Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is called the “Salamander Capital of the World” attributable to its considerable and various inhabitants of salamanders, together with 30 totally different species!

Woman standing on rocks at base of waterfall looking up at cascade
The ultimate climb as much as the waterfall is steep, however the views are price it!

What to Know Earlier than You Go

Along with carrying the 10 Day Climbing Necessities, listed below are a couple of suggestions in your hike out to Ramsey Cascade waterfall:

  • Cell Service: There is no such thing as a cell service on the Ramsey Cascades hike or on the trailhead. Be sure you have a path map downloaded earlier than leaving Gatlinburg or Cosby.
  • Climbing Garments: Temperatures within the fall can change drastically, so you’ll want to pack layers and take a look at our weblog submit on what to put on climbing in fall.
  • Water Availability: Many of the path follows alongside the Center Prong Little Pigeon River, so water is on the market alongside the hike. Pack a water filter when you want to replenish whereas climbing.
  • Path Circumstances: The Ramsey Cascades Path is well-worn and customarily straightforward to comply with. The path begins off alongside a large fireplace street, however narrows and turns into very rocky about one mile in. The ultimate mile to the Ramsey Cascades waterfall is steep and muddy at occasions, with a difficult set of rocky stairs and slick roots to navigate round. A pair of climbing boots or path trainers with good traction are really useful.
  • Security: The Ramsey Cascades hike ends on the backside of the waterfall. Do NOT try to climb to the highest of the falls, because the robust present could be very harmful. A number of individuals have died making an attempt to take action.
  • Be bear conscious! As with every hike in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, it’s attainable to come across a black bear alongside the Ramsey Cascades Path. Be sure you carry bear spray, and by no means depart meals or trash unattended. Learn up on what to do when you see a bear earlier than you hike.
  • Depart No Hint: The old-growth forests via which the path to Ramsey Cascades traverses are house to a various inhabitants of animals and crops, with many bushes a number of a whole bunch of years outdated. To be able to defend this very particular and fragile space, please bear in mind to comply with the seven ideas of Depart No Hint. Most significantly, at all times keep on the established path, don’t carve or vandalize the bushes, pack out any meals and trash you carry with you, take solely photographs and reminiscences as you permit, and don’t feed the animals.
Two deer on colorful leaf-lined road in Great Smoky National Park
Fall is a good looking hike to hike Ramsey Cascades!

What questions do you’ve gotten about climbing Ramsey Cascades Path within the Smoky Mountains? What’s your favourite waterfall in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park? Drop us a remark under!

Learn how to the Ramsey Cascades Trail in Great Smoky National Park including what time of year to visit and important safety info.

Written by
Sarah Vaughan & Matthew Cafarella

We’re Sarah and Matt, two digital nomads, outside fans, and the creators of Two Outliers, an journey journey and pictures weblog devoted to serving to you intend your subsequent journey! We street journey full-time throughout the USA together with our cat, Fitzgerald, whereas working remotely and spending all our free time climbing, tenting, backpacking, kayaking, and exploring new locations. We hope that our experiences will encourage you to be an outlier!


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