Friday, March 9, 2012

Rainbow Falls Hike

Rainbow Falls Hike
Dana Koogler solo
Wednesday March 7, 2012
5.4 miles round trip

    I had not hiked to Rainbow Falls in about eight years. I had visited the falls twice before.
Once with my husband about 15 years ago.  Once with my friend Craig while hiking to the summit of Mt. LeConte.  Rainbow Falls trail is one of the routes up and down the slopes of Mt. LeConte.
I determined since we'd had plenty of rainfall lately and in view of the fact it had been so long between visits I'd make the trip up this week.

            I found the hike up to be easier than I recalled.  It only took me 1 hr 40 minutes to arrive at the falls.  I had expected since it is steep, rocky and almost all uphill that it would take about 2 1/2 hours.   Rainbow Falls is 65 feet high and a true waterfall.  It is a very popular hike so getting an early start made finding parking easy and there were not many people on the trail. Upon arriving mine was the fourth vehicle in the lot.  I only encountered one set of hikers heading in.  On they way out I met about twenty people heading up the mountain.  The parking lot was full. 

        The falls was very pretty. Rainbow Falls will never be a favorite hike. The trail is so heavily used that the ground is eroded and many folks have "cut trail".  They've made shortcuts that have furthered the problem of erosion.  There were a few scattered wildflowers emerging which was nice.
The skies were blue with puffy white clouds. The temperature was a mild 60 degrees.  The air smelled fresh.   It was a great day to get out and stretch my legs. It was also nice to realize that I was not in as bad a shape fitness wise as I had imagined.  I had forgotten about a couple nice cascades that appear along the hike before the falls.

Rainbow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN Located on the slopes of Mt. LeConte

Rainbow Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, TN
Below is a video clip of Rainbow Falls.

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