The Ramsey Cascades Path is likely one of the finest hikes in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, that includes the park’s largest waterfall and the possibility to discover an old-growth forest. Positioned on the northeastern aspect of the park, Ramsey Cascades stays off the crushed path and provides a terrific reprieve from the crowds discovered in lots of different elements of the park.
Nonetheless, accessing the gorgeous waterfall gained’t come simple. It requires a difficult 8-mile spherical journey hike with over 2,000 toes of elevation acquire, however the trek is value it!
Use this Ramsey Cascades path information to assist plan your go to to the Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park to see the attractive Ramsey Cascades waterfall.
All images beneath courtesy of Sarah Vaughan
Ramsey Cascades Path Fundamentals
- Path Options: Tallest waterfall within the Smokies, old-growth forest
- Distance: 8 miles spherical journey
- Elevation Achieve: 2,250 ft
- Time: 4.5-7 hours (it took me 5 hours)
- Problem: Difficult
- Trailhead begin: Ramsey Cascades Trailhead (Greenbrier space)
- Canines Allowed: No
Greatest Time to Hike the Ramsey Cascades Path
The finest time to hike Ramsey Cascades is in the course of the fall from September via early November when the attractive Smoky Mountain’s fall colours are on full show! If you happen to aren’t in a position to go to in the course of the fall, spring (April to Could) can also be a good time to hike the Ramsey Cascades Path due to milder temperatures.
Throughout the summer season, temperatures at decrease elevations ceaselessly high 90 levels Fahrenheit and the warmth brings hazy skies. That being mentioned, a lot of the Ramsey Cascades hike is effectively shaded, so if you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains in the course of the summer season, this hike remains to be a terrific choice! Throughout the winter, snow is feasible though not very frequent, and freezing situations may cause the path to grow to be icy and slick. All the time examine the park web site for present closures and situations.
Be aware: The Ramsey Cascades Path shall be closed Monday via Thursday from Could 2nd to November seventeenth in 2022 to conduct path rehabilitation. The path will nonetheless be open Friday via Sunday throughout this time.
How Lengthy Does it Take to Hike Ramsey Cascades?
This can be a difficult hike with 2,250 toes of elevation acquire over 4 miles to the Ramsey Cascades waterfall. The ultimate mile to the falls could be very steep with rocky, muddy terrain and slick roots to navigate. As such, it’s best to anticipate the Ramsey Cascades hike to take wherever from 4.5 hours as much as 7 hours, relying in your tempo.
I accomplished the hike in 5 hours transferring at a reasonably constant tempo, with a 30-minute relaxation on the waterfall.
Attending to the Ramsey Cascades Trailhead
The trailhead for Ramsey Cascades is situated 35 minutes from Cosby, Tennessee, and half-hour from Gatlinburg, Tennessee on the northeastern aspect of Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park.
From US-321, flip onto Greenbriar Highway and proceed for about 3 miles earlier than taking a left flip onto Ramsey Prong Highway and persevering with for 1.5 miles till you attain the trailhead. Each Greenbriar Highway and Ramsey Prong Highway usually are not paved and grow to be slim in sections, however are pretty well-maintained and usually don’t require 4WD.
Ramsey Cascades Path Information
Beginning the Hike
From the parking zone on the trailhead, you’ll virtually instantly cross a wood footbridge over the Center Prong Little Pigeon River. From there, the path follows alongside an previous fireplace highway on the northern financial institution of the river, gaining elevation at a average tempo.
At 1.5 miles into the hike, the path crosses over the river once more, providing a large log as a bridge and a railing on one aspect for help. There are a number of extra bridges like this alongside the path and I discovered it helpful to have my trekking poles for additional stability.
Because of the difficult nature of the hike and the extra distant location of the trailhead, Ramsey Cascades Path tends to be much less crowded than most of the different nice hikes in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park. Take a second to benefit from the peace and quiet of the forest, with solely the sound of birds chirping and water flowing.
Previous Development Forest
As you proceed farther alongside the Ramsey Cascades Path, you start to enter one of many Smoky Mountains largest old-growth forests! So what precisely is an old-growth forest? Earlier than the Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park was established in 1926, a lot of the world was harvested for lumber.
An old-growth forest is any part of the forest that was by no means cleared. Which means that the timber discovered within the space are very previous, and as such, very giant! You’ll know once you’ve entered the old-growth forest by the big timber that tower over the forest with big leaves making a lush cover above.
Closing Climb to Ramsey Cascades
The miles will fly by as you meander via the attractive old-growth forest full of distinctive kinds of vegetation, moss-covered logs, and the biggest leaves you’ve ever seen.
The ultimate one mile or so earlier than reaching Ramsey Cascades is probably the most difficult a part of the hike. At this level, the path narrows and turns into very steep, rocky, and root-covered. It’ll definitely get your thighs burning, however push on and also you’ll arrive on the falls very quickly!
Ramsey Cascades Waterfall
After about 4 miles of mountaineering and a pair of,250 toes of elevation acquire, your onerous work is paid off once you lastly catch a glimpse of the gorgeous Ramsey Cascades waterfall. Water cascades 100 toes over a large pile of boulders, gathering in a number of small swimming pools beneath the falls.
These swimming pools are identified to be house to an ample inhabitants of salamanders, that are effectively camouflaged in opposition to the rocks. The salamanders have a tendency to put their eggs beneath rocks, so it’s essential that you don’t transfer or stack rocks on this space to protect these weak creatures.
The slabs of rock beneath Ramsey Cascades make for the right spot to relaxation, cool off, and benefit from the view. Please don’t try to proceed previous this spot, or climb to the highest of the falls because the slick rock and dashing water could be very harmful! When you’ve soaked within the views, return again the way in which you got here and comply with the path to return to the parking zone.
Enjoyable reality: Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is named the “Salamander Capital of the World” resulting from its ample and numerous inhabitants of salamanders, together with 30 completely different species!
What to Know Earlier than You Go
Along with carrying the 10 Day Mountaineering Necessities, listed below are a couple of ideas in your hike out to Ramsey Cascade waterfall:
- Cell Service: There isn’t any cell service on the Ramsey Cascades hike or on the trailhead. Remember to have a path map downloaded earlier than leaving Gatlinburg or Cosby.
- Mountaineering Garments: Temperatures within the fall can change drastically, so you’ll want to pack layers and take a look at our weblog submit on what to put on mountaineering in fall.
- Water Availability: Many of the path follows alongside the Center Prong Little Pigeon River, so water is accessible alongside the hike. Pack a water filter should you want to refill whereas mountaineering.
- Path Circumstances: The Ramsey Cascades Path is well-worn and customarily simple to comply with. The path begins off alongside a large fireplace highway, however narrows and turns into very rocky about one mile in. The ultimate mile to the Ramsey Cascades waterfall is steep and muddy at occasions, with a difficult set of rocky stairs and slick roots to navigate round. A pair of mountaineering boots or path trainers with good traction are beneficial.
- Security: The Ramsey Cascades hike ends on the backside of the waterfall. Do NOT try to climb to the highest of the falls, because the sturdy present could be very harmful. A number of individuals have died making an attempt to take action.
- Be bear conscious! As with every hike in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park, it’s doable to come across a black bear alongside the Ramsey Cascades Path. Remember to carry bear spray, and by no means depart meals or trash unattended. Learn up on what to do should you see a bear earlier than you hike.
- Go away No Hint: The old-growth forests via which the path to Ramsey Cascades traverses are house to a various inhabitants of animals and vegetation, with many timber a number of tons of of years previous. With a purpose to defend this very particular and fragile space, please keep in mind to comply with the seven rules of Go away No Hint. Most significantly, at all times keep on the established path, don’t carve or vandalize the timber, pack out any meals and trash you deliver with you, take solely images and recollections as you allow, and don’t feed the animals.
What questions do you’ve got about mountaineering Ramsey Cascades Path within the Smoky Mountains? What’s your favourite waterfall in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park? Drop us a remark beneath!