Grotto Falls

Spread the love

July 11, 2014 – I keep getting questions about why I’m staying in one place for so long when my I’m a fulltime RVer and my home has wheels.   All I can keep saying is that I so fell in love with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and there’s just so much to see here, I have never gotten bored and I want to see more – and usually more than once!

This trail is a prime example – I’d heard about it and how you can walk behind the waterfall here, but every other time I’d been on Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail (where you can access the trail), I had taken so long seeing the other sights alongside this wonderful drive, the timing just wasn’t right for a hike.  If I felt rushed to move on instead of feeling free to take my time as I see fit in one place, I would have missed this.  And this was perfect timing – the rhododendron were blooming like crazy all along the trail and I’d been waiting all winter to see them.

Grotto Falls trail

It’s a fairly easy 1.4 mile hike to the falls on a rocky and rooty trail, but that just further encouraged me to take my time and enjoy every step along the way instead of focusing just on the destination falls.

Grotto Falls 1

Besides the blooms along the path, you could look down the sloping sides and view ravines full of blooming bushes, but I could never properly capture that in a picture.

Grotto Falls 2

It’s obviously a very popular trail because it was pretty crowded all along the way.  These folks brought a hammock to hang out in the trees!

Grotto Falls 3

Approaching the falls at the end and I knew it would all be worthwhile.

Grotto Falls - Me

I made it!  The falls aren’t huge, and I’ve seen pictures when it was flowing much more, but such a beautiful setting and being able to be sprayed by the mist was very refreshing since it got pretty hot on the trail.

Grotto Falls - other side

You can walk across the rocky stream to get to the other side for a different perspective.

Grotto Falls - llama

We were all pretty surprised to see this caravan of llama coming down the trail and they got the right of way.  I have no idea what that was all about, but it was really neat to see.

Grotto Falls - limb

I just loved this scene with the colorful fallen limb and the log alongside that seemed hollowed out by nature to be a planter.  And the rhododendron frame!

Grotto Falls - cascade

Tiny cascades were appreciated big time!

I stayed there quite a while just soaking it all in before heading back down the trail.

Grotto Falls - path back

I was so glad I had done this trail while all the rhododendron were blooming, and I noticed more on the way back that they were starting to shed.  And it seemed like the petals were thrown in my path to congratulate me on my good timing!

If experiences like this aren’t good enough to explain why I love it here so much and why I stay until I really feel the need to leave, I don’t know what is.  🙂

More info and pictures:

Malia’s Miles website pages:
Roaring Fork Motor Nature TrailBud Ogle Cabin and Nature Trail

Hiking the Smokies

Plan Your Visit (NPS)


  • Colleen Phipps

    Loved these flowering bushes too. Glad to hear you are still enjoying your time there. Would only be bad if you wanted to move and couldn’t. People are just used to Full-timers moving more often but it’s your life and your choice that counts.

    • Glad somebody understands. When I keep hearing comments that I mustn’t be fulltime RVing anymore since I’ve “moved” to TN, it kinda cracks me up. My house still has wheels and it will take me where I want to go. But where I want to go is here now. I definitely was on the move a whole lot more when I first took off, but that was 13 years ago and I’ve found it works better for me in many ways to stay in a place as long as I have something interesting to explore. So many times I found out after I left someplace how much I missed. Cheaper to stay than to come back. 🙂

  • Judy Pirtle

    Malia, I totally understand your staying in a place you have fallen in love with. The same thing has happened to me here in OR. This state has a spell over me and keeps pulling me back whenever I plan to leave! I am also full timing and had plans to move all over the US. Well I drove to OR exactly one year ago and haven’t left yet. I just keep finding more areas of interest to explore so…….I do understand. I really do. Tentative plans now for me are to leave next month and head back to TX for awhile but I’m not excited about it. That is the great part of RVing. When you find a place you like, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t stay if you choose to. .

    • Judy, so good to hear from you and I just knew you’d love Oregon as much as I did. Other than since I’ve been in TN, I spent more time there than anywhere else in my 13 years of fulltiming and found the same thing – so beautiful and so much to explore! I still say that if I absolutely had to give up RVing and stay in one state, it would be Oregon. But I’m having a blast here in TN and just don’t know when I’ll be ready to leave. I honestly don’t know when I’ll be back in Texas, but I hope our paths cross again soon!

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