Cataract Falls

Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee
Picture of Cataract Falls
Cataract Falls (03/30/2006, 45 mm, f/25, 4 sec, ISO 100)


This waterfall located near Sugarlands Visitor Center is nothing great.  That should be fairly obvious from the ratings.  On the other hand, it can make a nice diversion for some restless kids.  It's really easy to find and access.  One parent can get information at the Sugarlands Visitor Center while another adult takes a quick trip to these falls.

Ok, that's about the best spin I can give this one.

It's quick and easy.

Getting There

I recommend parking at the park headquarters but if you're going to the visitor center, park there instead.

The Sugarlands Visitor Center is located at the junction of Newfound Gap Rd and Little River Rd just outside of Gatlinburg and the GSMNP Headquarters are next door.

If parking at the visitor center, head behind the center and toward the headquarters building parking lot.  Don't take the nature trail.

On the other side of the parking lot go left on the paved road and cross the small bridge.  You will see a sign on the right side of the road for Cataract Falls.  The falls are about 100 yards or so down this level trail.

Hike Details

This doesn't really qualify for a hike.  Round trip mileage from the park headquarters is about 0.2 miles and maybe 0.4 miles roundtrip from Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Photo Tips

Standard procedures apply for waterfall pictures.  A polarizing filter is vital for good pictures here, and if you visit the polarizer page you'll see this waterfall used as an example of how a polarizer can help you.  With the low flow on these falls a tripod is a must.  The picture above had a 4 second exposure.

From a composition standpoint, there aren't many options.  I took a few pictures using nearby trees for framing but due to the required long exposure blurring was a problem.

You will be close to the falls so a wide angle zoom or standard lens should take care of most potential compositions.


Here you go. 

from Randy Gardner on Vimeo.

› Cataract Falls

Like This Page?

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.