Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

Roaring Fork Description

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is a nice 5 mile one-way drive through the Smoky Mountains only a few minutes from Gatlinburg. You will find nice mountain streams, old growth forests, nice trails, log cabins and other well-preserved historic buildings, and possibly some wildlife. At the entrance, you can purchase a booklet with detailed information about all of the stops along the route. If you are staying at a hotel or chalet in Gatlinburg, it is only about a 4 mile drive to the motor trail. Large RVs and trailers on not allowed on this narrow, winding road. The road ends on US Hwy 321 just east of Gatlinburg. Turn left onto 321 to go back to Gatlinburg. See map below for directions. The road is closed in Winter.

There are several good hiking trails in the Roaring Fork area. One of the most popular waterfall hikes is Gotto Falls (see picture on this page). The hike to Grotto Falls is an easy 2.4 mile round trip hike on a well-maintained trail. The trailhead is located at stop #5 on the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. Rainbow Falls is another popular waterfall. The hike is a moderate 5.4 mile round trip. The trailhead is just before the Roaring Fork Motor trail. It is clearly marked.


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From Gatlinburg, turn up Historic Nature Trail Rd (which used to be called Airport Rd) at traffic light number 8. You will enter the National Park on Cherokee Orchard Rd. Look for signs to the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. See the map below for directions from Gatlinburg. Click on "View Larger Map" under the map to get directions from another location.

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Recommended Reading

Trails Illustrated Topo Map is an excellent map of the Smokies, showing roads, hiking trails, camping areas, picnic areas, ranger stations, and more. It is waterproof and tearproof, so it is very durable to take with you camping or hiking, even if it rains.
Insiders' Guide to the Great Smoky Mountains provides good information about outdoor activities in the park. It also provides complete information about the surrounding areas including dining, lodging, and area attractions.
Great Smoky Mountains: A Vistor's Companion describes and illustrates in full color dozens of plant and animal species in the Smokies, including a wide variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, mammals, and plants. It also explores the park's geology, climate, and history.

For More Information

  • Smokies Bookstore
  • Roaring Fork Page from the National Park Service

  • Back to www.smokies.ws