Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, Tennessee

From Gatlinburg, Tennessee, we made our way to our VRBO rental in Cosby, Tennessee.

Cosby is a small town located 40 minutes outside of Gatlinburg and right on the edge of the National Park.  Cosby has a few attractions and places to stop that need to be on the bucket list for any frequent visitor to the Smokies.  Quiet and peaceful, Cosby will surprise you with everything it has to offer.
Like most of the Smokies, the Cherokee had made this area their home early in the life of their massive civilization.  European settlers soon were making trips into the area that would be Cosby and established settlements and forts. 
We stayed in this quiet, clean, cabin we found on VRBO while in Cosby, TN

The fun jeep we rented to drive during our Smokies tour!

Cosby is famous for the moonshining that took place in the early 20th century.  To East Tennesseans, Cosby has been known as “The Moonshine Captial of the World.”  The farmers of the area grew corn and to supplement their income they began to turn some of that corn into moonshine.  The moonshine industry grew due to the fact that the coves and valleys of the mountains helped to hide the moonshiners and their stills.
A little night time photography from the porch of the cabin we rented in Cosby, TN 

After checking into our VRBO and getting some rest we traveled back to Gatlinburg and through the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.  The name derived from a “roaring” mountain stream, the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail twists and turns for six-miles, forming a one-way looping scenic drive through the Great Smoky Mountains. The narrow roadway only allows cars—trucks, trailers and RVs cannot fit on this road.



The drive along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail begins at the Noah “Bud” Ogle farmstead, where you can take a walking tour of the historic buildings and pick up a tour map of the roadway sights. The trailhead for Rainbow Falls can be found just beyond the farmstead, a moderate hike to a stunning waterfall. It’s a 5.4-mile roundtrip hike to Rainbow Falls (it’s less than 3 miles one way!) and your reward is the 80-foot high waterfall, the tallest single-drop waterfall in the national park.

The Ephraim Bales Place, another cabin within the Smoky Mountains




The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail also provides access to the Trillium Gap Trail. Hike the Trillium Gap Trail to reach Grotto Falls, the only place in the Smoky Mountains where you can stand behind the falls as the water cascades to the pool. If hiking to a waterfall is not your thing, the Place of a Thousand Drips can be reached by car. It’s one of two waterfalls in the park accessible by car—find it at stop 15, near the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

Small waterfall seen from the car along the Roaring Forks Motor Nature Trail


The next day we made our way towards Asheville, NC, via way of the Catloochee Valley.


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