roaring fork smoky mountains

A Scenic Drive in the Smokies You Have to Make Time for: Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Apr 01, 2018

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is still kind of like a secret among guests to the Smoky Mountains. Often many visitors don’t realize it is available, and so they visit Cades Cove. Cades Cove is a beautiful place, but you’re going to love Roaring Fork, and here’s what you need to know about it:

Why is it called Roaring Fork?

Roaring ForkThe Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail got its name from the fast flowing waterfall and stream known as Roaring Fork. This is one of the fastest moving mountain rivers in the National Park. After a heavy rain, go visit the trail and you’ll clearly see how it got its name.

When can I visit?

The 5.5 mile long trail is not open during the winter. The trail is typically open between early April and November. However, in spring and summer you can see gorgeous pops of color from native wildflowers all over! In the fall, the tree canopy comes alive with bright reds, oranges and yellows as the leaves begin to change.

What will I see along the trail?

Before you enter Roaring Fork you will pass the trailhead for the popular hike, Rainbow Falls. You can also get out here to explore Noah “Bud” Ogle’s self guiding trail of his old, authentic mountain farmstead. You will also see a tubmill here. There are two nature overlooks along the trail. There’s a picnic area as the beginning of the motor nature trail and is a perfect spot to stop to have a snack with your family. You’ll have several opportunities to stretch your legs and explore some historic homesteads and a grist mill that show you how life used to be living in the Appalachian Mountains. At the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a beautiful waterfall called “Place of a Thousand Drips.”

How do I get there?

Roaring ForkTo reach Roaring Fork, follow these directions: Turn off the main Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN at traffic light #8 and follow Historic Nature Trail Road to the Cherokee Orchard entrance to the National Park. Then just beyond the Rainbow Falls trailhead you have the option of taking the one-way Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Where to stay?

If you think taking a visit to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail sounds like fun, we invite you to go visit! Moreover, if you want to be in a close driving distance of this beautiful trail, take a look at our Gatlinburg cabins! We have beautiful and cozy cabins, and inside of them you can find fully stocked kitchens, pool tables, bubbly hot tubs and more!  We have everything you need for a vacation to the Smokies at Parkside Cabin Rentals!