#23 of 24 National Park Things To Do

Place of a Thousand Drips

Experience a Beautiful Waterfall From a Scenic Drive When Visiting The Place of a Thousand Drips
Written by: Jasmin Diaz
Staff Score:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park offers a wide variety of opportunities for beautiful scenery. In fact, one of the most popular destinations that you might not know about is the Place of a Thousand Drips. This breathtaking waterfall is made up of several small waterfalls and is visible from a scenic drive loop called Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail. 

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is a beloved destination for adventurers worldwide. In fact, each year some 200,000 visitors trek the various trails throughout the park or drive the various backroads to enjoy the beautiful scenery and majestic waterfalls. One noted favorite that is a must-see when visiting the area is the Place of a Thousand Drips, located towards the end of Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail.

This unique waterfall earned its name because it is formed by a lacework of smaller waterfalls, instead of being formed by one large one. Hence, it has a thousand drips! You can access it at the end of Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail’s scenic-drive loop, meaning you can experience this beauty from the comfort of your car, instead of having to venture into the woods via a hiking trail.

It’s important to note that the Roaring Fork Motor Trail scenic drive is a narrow, winding road that goes up and downhill and features beautiful scenery. The loop trail, which begins outside of Gatlinburg,  is a six-mile drive that takes you back to Gatlinburg. It is a slow, one-way drive system and is sometimes closed during inclement weather, particularly during the winter months.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park features many beautiful waterfalls because the park has two of the essential ingredients needed for waterfalls, those being ample rainfall and elevation gradient. It is common for this high country area to log more than 85” of rain yearly, which trickles down the sides of the mountains from higher elevations to lower lands, creating the perfect recipe for beautiful waterfalls.

While there are many waterfalls you can access in the area that you can only see on foot after a trek down a marked trail, the Place of a Thousand Drips is unique in that it is one of only two waterfalls that you can access without a hike. This is great for those who are physically unable to hike, don’t have the time to do so, or simply prefer not to hike in the woods.

Once you arrive at the overlook location, most people get out of their vehicles to get a better look at the Place of a Thousand Drips. Be ready with your camera to capture this amazing view. A good tip to remember that professional photographers use to capture the beauty of waterfalls is to use a camera tripod and a long exposure to create the flowing, brushed look that you see in professional photography.

Even if you don’t have the skill or the desire to capture a professional-quality photograph, you can still snap a shot with your camera to remember the beautiful location and your trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. The other drive-up waterfall you can access via your vehicle is Meigs Falls.

It’s important to note though, that, unlike the Place of a Thousand Drips Waterfall, Meigs Falls is about 300 feet from the roadway, meaning that it’s more difficult to get up close to this beauty. Guests are warned against venturing closer to the waterfall on foot because the riverbed is rocky and the water moves very fast, which can be dangerous.

To sum up, the Place of a Thousand Drips Waterfall is a drive-up waterfall estimated to be about 20 to 30 feet high. It isn’t as spectacular as some of the deeply buried fall you can only reach via a hiking trail. However, because you can access it right off of a roadway, it is ideal for many people who have mobility issues or simply don’t have the desire to hike through the woods. Therefore, it is for sure worth adding to your itinerary when visiting the Gatlinburg area.

Insider Tips:
-The Place of a Thousand Drips Waterfall is located off the right side of the scenic loop, making it easy to pull off and view.
-The views on the scenic drive up to the falls are well worth the visit. Some visitors have even seen bear cubs playing in the water nearby.
-If parking is full right at the waterfall pull-off, there are some additional spaces up the road a bit.