Place of a Thousand Drips: 5 Reasons to Visit This Unique Waterfall in the Smokies

Great Smoky Mountains National Park boasts multiple jaw-dropping waterfalls. The wide variety of falls and the surrounding forested areas make a trip to any of them memorable. Place of a Thousand Drips stands out for its unique appearance and location. Situated near the end of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, it is one of the easiest falls to reach. Add a visit to Place of a Thousand Drips to your drive through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for an unforgettable sight of a unique waterfall.

1. It Doesn’t Require Hiking Shoes to See  

Most of the waterfalls throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park require hiking to reach. Therefore, they are not the most accessible for those with limited mobility. However, everyone can see the Place of a Thousand Drips because you can easily view it from your car on the adjacent road.

To get to the Place of a Thousand Drips, you take the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail around the park. This one-way road is in good condition when open but closes in the winter. If you have an RV, consider getting a rental car to drive along this scenic drive. Large trucks, RVs, and buses will not fit on the narrow motor nature trail.

Look out for stop 15 near the end of the loop of the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. A small pull-off area on the right side of the one-way road allows for a few cars to sit at a time. However, you can see the falls from your vehicle on the left side of the road, too. While in the car, the driver will have a better view than the passenger.

If you stop at the pull-off area to walk to the falls, watch out for photographers and other visitors. People either keep their eyes on the falls or their cameras and not on people walking around them. Use caution in the area. Some picture takers capture long-exposure images with their cameras to enhance the appearance of the water flow over the rocks, especially in drier weather.

A beautiful waterfall sight without a hike makes Place of a Thousand Drips a must-add to your Smoky Mountains itinerary.

2. There Is No Other Waterfall Like It

Most of the waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountains National Park have their own distinctive appearance. Place of a Thousand Drips is similarly unique. While some waterfalls feature single cascades of water or high flow throughout the year, Place of a Thousand Drips has multiple tiny falls that create a unique look.

Imagine moss-covered rocks draped with lacy water flow. That image is what you may see at Place of a Thousand Drips, depending on recent rainfall levels. Dry seasons may only have a few drips or no water flow at all. However, the trees and rocks of the area are still picturesque. Visiting after a rainstorm ensures a greater volume of water going over the rocks, turning the Place of a Thousand Drips into one of a thousand waterfalls.

3. You Get an Unforgettably Scenic Drive to the Place of a Thousand Drips

roadway surrounded by tall trees and evergreen in roaring fork

The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail that you take to get to the Place of a Thousand Drips is a great chance to experience the beauty and history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a single drive. Several cabins of former settlers dot the sides of the road as you travel along the one-way trail to the last stop, the Place of a Thousand Drips. Some visitors have occasionally reported seeing black bears in the trees, especially near water.

While the view of the falls provides you with a reward, don’t neglect to take your time on the drive there to absorb the beautiful forest around the road. From the pull-out area for the falls, you have a short walk back up the road to the Reagan Place and a set of smaller falls on the road before Place of a Thousand Drips.

If you prefer a leisurely trip that includes more sights along the trail, take your time to enjoy the numerous other pull-offs and cabins along the five-mile Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. The first stop at the Bud Ogle Homestead has $0.50 trail guides and the stop at the start of the motor trail sells $1 books about the trail. Bring cash for these to have more information about the things to look for along the trail in addition to the Place of a Thousand Drips.

The slow speed limit, narrow roadway, and numerous changes in elevation mean the average trip along the nature trail takes at least an hour if you want to go straight to the falls. When stopping to take time to examine the sights at the numerous pull-offs, allow at least three or four hours for the trip along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

4. You Can See the Direct Effects of Nature at Work in the Rock

Waterfall in the place of a thousand drips near Gatlinburg in Smoky Mountains

Over centuries of work, water flowing over the rocks at the Place of a Thousand Drips has created interesting patterns in the rocks. Look closely at the carvings in the rocks the water flows over. Those carvings did not come from humans but from the movement of water. Even in the dry season, seeing how powerful nature can be in cutting through rock with water makes a trip to these falls worthwhile.

5. Recent Rains Only Enhance Your Experience

While rainy weather may turn some of the trails into impassible muddy walks, recent wet weather will only improve the experience at the Place of a Thousand Drips. If you can avoid driving in the rain, do so because some sections of the trail have steep inclines. However, if you visit the Place of a Thousand Drips after a recent rain or snowfall melt, you’ll see a more robust flow of water over the rocks. Some people prefer the heavier flow of water after rain whereas others like the slower drip seen in drier weather. Visit these falls multiple times to determine which variation you prefer.

The Place of a Thousand Drips is an unforgettable, accessible waterfall that you can easily add to any trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.