Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. The waterfall consists of an upper and a lower section, divided by a walkway which crosses the stream at the base of the upper falls. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park and parking at the trailhead is limited. The area is especially busy on weekends year-round and on weekdays during summer.
Access trail: Laurel Falls Trail
Trailhead: From Sugarlands Visitor Center, turn toward Cades Cove on Little River Road and drive 3.5 miles to the trailhead where there are parking areas on both sides of the road.
Trail Notes: The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 2.6 miles and the hike is considered moderate in difficulty. It takes about 2 hours to hike to the waterfall and back.
Carry drinking water with you. Pets and bicycles are prohibited on the trail.
The trail is paved but the pavement is rough and uneven. The trail has short, steep sections which can be slippery in wet weather. Portions of the trail have steep drop-offs.