Things to Do in Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is an 8-mile driving trail and the most popular scenic drive in the Great Smoky.  It is the largest and fastest flowing mountain stream in the park, a name derived from a “roaring” mountain stream. 

Hike to Roaring Fork Motor Nature has a narrow, winding path giving you an adventure experience through the forest and historic building.  The trail has twists and turns for six miles which is a one-way loop and the roadway only allows cars. Trucks, trailers, and RVs are not allowed on this road. Roaring Fork Motor Nature has not only scenic drives but also has lots to offer from hiking to wildlife watching and much more.

Visit the historic places 

Roaring Fork is known for its Historic District, they have still preserved the historic buildings. You get to see cabins and mills which were owned by first settlers in Roaring Fork. Now all the historic building is owned by the park.

The Alfred Reagan Place

Alfred Reagan was a descendant of the first settlers. He donated land and helped build the Roaring Fork Church. He had many buildings on his farm, but today there is only a cabin and mill.

The Ephraim Bales Place

This was a dog-trot cabin with two adjacent cabins with about 10 feet in between, but with a continuous roof. This was a great place to cool down in the summer or stay warm in the winter months.

The Jim Bales Place

The first place along the trail is Jim Bales Place. The Bales family was one of the first to settle in the area. The house is located on farmland, when the National Park Service got control of the land, the house. Now you can see the Bales original corn crib and barn in Roaring Fork.

The Noah Bud Ogle Place

Before you enter the trail you will find the Noah Bud Ogle Place, an historic homestead built in the late 1800s. The trail offers a walk through mountain farmstead and hardwood forest. You also get to see a streamside tubmill and the Ogle’s handcrafted wooden flume plumbing system. 

The Noah Ogle Place includes a cabin, barn, and tub mill. Noah was the great-grandson of William Ogle and Martha Huskey. They were the first white settlers in the Gatlinburg area.

Explore the Waterfalls

The most attractive feature of Roaring Fork is waterfalls. Most of the tourists hike to Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail to see the stunning waterfalls. You get to see three beautiful waterfalls. Rainbow Falls, Grotto Falls and Place of a Thousand Drips.

Rainbow Falls Trail:

The hike is 5.4 miles and one of the most popular trails in the park . The Rainbow Falls is a 80-foot high waterfall. You get to see the rainbow produced by mist from the waterfall that is visible on sunny afternoons. During winter it forms ice formation around the falls.

Grotto Falls:

The trail begins from the Trillium Gap Trailhead. You get to walk through a beautiful old-growth forest, which includes many large eastern hemlocks. Grotto Falls is a 25 foot high waterfall. The trail is loved by summer hikers with a cool, moist environment near the falls is a perfect treat in summer.

Place of a Thousand Drips

Place of a Thousand Drips low-flow fall that you can see right from your car.  It is located at Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, just before the one-way road comes out to Gatlinburg. The name was given due to the small amount of water that flows over the falls. The waterfall is 20-30 feet crossing the high rocks and a small cave and cascade.

Scenic Drive 

You can’t miss the scenic drive in Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail one of the most popular in the park. It is a 10.8 kilometer moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The path features a river and is good for all driving skill levels.

The trail is primarily used for scenic driving and is best used from May until November. This is a beautiful scenic trail with historic homes and streams. There are plenty of places to stop and enjoy the beauty of nature. You can even see the wildlife, black bears are often spotted in the trail. Dont not disturb any wild animals if you spot any, dont make noise and drive slowly.

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