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 facet of the park, Ramsey Cascades stays off the crushed path and provides an ideal reprieve from the crowds discovered in lots of different components of the park.
Nevertheless, accessing the beautiful waterfall received’t come straightforward. It requires a difficult 8-mile spherical journey hike with over 2,000 ft of elevation achieve, however the trek is price it!
Use this Ramsey Cascades path information to assist plan your go to to the Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park to see the gorgeous 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)
- Canine Allowed: No
Greatest Time to Hike the Ramsey Cascades Path
The finest time to hike Ramsey Cascades is through the fall from September by means of early November when the gorgeous Smoky Mountain’s fall colours are on full show! Should you aren’t capable of go to through the fall, spring (April to Might) can be a good time to hike the Ramsey Cascades Path because of milder temperatures.
Through the summer season, temperatures at decrease elevations incessantly high 90 levels Fahrenheit and the warmth brings hazy skies. That being stated, a lot of the Ramsey Cascades hike is effectively shaded, so if you’re visiting the Smoky Mountains through the summer season, this hike remains to be an ideal possibility! Through the winter, snow is feasible though not very frequent, and freezing situations may cause the path to turn into icy and slick. At all times examine the park web site for present closures and situations.
Word: The Ramsey Cascades Path shall be closed Monday by means of Thursday from Might 2nd to November seventeenth in 2022 to conduct path rehabilitation. The path will nonetheless be open Friday by means of Sunday throughout this time.
How Lengthy Does it Take to Hike Ramsey Cascades?
This can be a difficult hike with 2,250 ft of elevation achieve 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, you must 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 shifting 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 facet of Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park.
From US-321, flip onto Greenbriar Street and proceed for about 3 miles earlier than taking a left flip onto Ramsey Prong Street and persevering with for 1.5 miles till you attain the trailhead. Each Greenbriar Street and Ramsey Prong Street usually are not paved and turn into slender in sections, however are pretty well-maintained and sometimes 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 reasonable 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 facet 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.
As a result of difficult nature of the hike and the extra distant location of the trailhead, Ramsey Cascades Path tends to be much less crowded than lots 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 Progress 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 while you’ve entered the old-growth forest by the large timber that tower over the forest with big leaves making a lush cover above.
Ultimate Climb to Ramsey Cascades
The miles will fly by as you meander by means of the gorgeous old-growth forest crammed with 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 actually 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 climbing and a couple of,250 ft of elevation achieve, your exhausting work is paid off while you lastly catch a glimpse of the beautiful Ramsey Cascades waterfall. Water cascades 100 ft over an enormous pile of boulders, gathering in a number of small swimming pools beneath the falls.
These swimming pools are identified to be residence to an considerable 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 vital 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 proper spot to relaxation, cool off, and benefit from the view. Please don’t try and 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 best way you got here and comply with the path to return to the parking zone.
Enjoyable truth: Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park is named the “Salamander Capital of the World” on account of its considerable and various inhabitants of salamanders, together with 30 totally different species!
What to Know Earlier than You Go
Along with carrying the 10 Day Mountaineering Necessities, listed here are a couple of ideas to your hike out to Ramsey Cascade waterfall:
- Cell Service: There isn’t a cell service on the Ramsey Cascades hike or on the trailhead. You should definitely 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 climbing in fall.
- Water Availability: Many of the path follows alongside the Center Prong Little Pigeon River, so water is offered alongside the hike. Pack a water filter when you want to replenish whereas climbing.
- Path Circumstances: The Ramsey Cascades Path is well-worn and usually straightforward 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 climbing boots or path trainers with good traction are advisable.
- Security: The Ramsey Cascades hike ends on the backside of the waterfall. Do NOT try and climb to the highest of the falls, because the robust 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 attainable to come across a black bear alongside the Ramsey Cascades Path. You should definitely carry bear spray, and by no means go away meals or trash unattended. Learn up on what to do when you see a bear earlier than you hike.
- Depart No Hint: The old-growth forests by means of which the path to Ramsey Cascades traverses are residence to a various inhabitants of animals and vegetation, with many timber a number of a whole bunch of years previous. As a way to defend this very particular and fragile space, please bear in mind to comply with the seven ideas of Depart 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 permit, and don’t feed the animals.
What questions do you might have about climbing Ramsey Cascades Path within the Smoky Mountains? What’s your favourite waterfall in Nice Smoky Mountains Nationwide Park? Drop us a remark beneath!