Indian Flats Falls is a captivating destination, with a fairly easy hike alongside a creek, cascades and bridges along the way, and a beautiful, four-tier cascading waterfall that drops modestly a total of 60 feet across all the tiers.
Indian Flats Falls has a distinctive beauty that makes it a destination worth visiting. This is an increasingly popular waterfall in the park, so it’s best to make the trip early in the day if you want to avoid the crowds, especially during peak times.
Enjoy a creek-side trip along the Middle Prong Trail
To get to Indian Flats Falls you need to hike the Middle Prong Trail. This 4.1-mile trail each way mostly follows the Lynn Camp Prong creek, providing you with some of the quintessential forest and stream views and sounds that are so beguiling. You’ll pass two smaller cascading falls before you even make it to Indian Flats Falls, but you definitely want to go the entire way there.
The Middle Prong Trail itself is an old railroad bed that follows alongside the Lynn Camp Prong creek. There are two nice waterfalls about a half mile in, the two Lynn Camp Prong Cascades, Upper and Lower versions. The first one (at 0.4 miles) offers a bench provided by rangers especially to sit and enjoy the falls. There are numerous smaller cascades along this trail.Some people hike to this point and the next quarter-mile or so and turn back, for a roughly 1-hour excursion.
But if you continue on, after a couple of miles you’ll pass Panther Creek Trail to the left, and another mile or so will bring you to a bridge. Shortly after you cross the bridge, the trail veers away from the creek and climbs through some switchbacks – after these is where you need to listen for the falls and look for the unmarked spur leading off the trail to the right. This leads to Indian Flats Falls. If you overshoot, you’ll soon come to Lynn Camp Prong Trail – turn back about a quarter mile to reach the Falls.
At 8.2 total miles (4.1 miles each way), the hike is a significant length. However it isn’t one of the steeper mountain trails in the park, so most people should be able to accomplish it provided they have the time.
Safety tips for waterfalls and hiking trails
The Middle Prong Trail may be more flat than some, but you still need to exercise precaution when hiking it. Appropriate footwear is really sensible, because there is rocky terrain throughout the trail – your less tired feet and non-twisted ankles will thank you. Trekking poles are useful on this trail too. When you get to the falls, watch your footing and stay on the uppermost tier. You may see some people trying to descend into the lower levels, but the rocks are not easy to navigate and you risk destroying some of the vegetation surrounding the trail. This is a moss-covered area, which can be very slippery when wet. This trail is also bear country, which doesn’t pose any issues, but be aware how to deal with this situation.
Plan your trip for a day of fun
To get to the trail, take Tremont Road to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute. Here, you’re already in magical country, but it gets even better as you travel the 3-mile gravel road known as Upper Tremont Road, to the Middle Prong Trailhead. Upper Tremont may be closed in winter. Besides the Institute – which offers bathrooms and a gift shop worth exploring – this area offers two other notable places in the vicinity to be aware of: one is another waterfall entirely to explore, and the other is a Quiet Walkway that should also not be missed.
The trailhead for Spruce Flats Falls opens up just before you get to the Institute. This waterfall is a hidden gem, and the moderate trail is worth taking to get to it – see our guide to Spruce Flats Falls: Beauty Worth Hiking For to learn all about this destination. Closer to your Indian Flats destination is the Thunderhead Prong Quiet Walkway, which splits off of the Middle Prong Trail very shortly after you embark on it. See our feature at the link for more about the relatively unknown gifts from the park service known as Quiet Walkways.
For more outdoors adventures in the Smokies, see our Gatlinburg Hiking Trails, and our Smoky Mountains map page. You can find more great outdoor things to do in our Smoky Mountains Activities guide. And for even more tips, see our Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains guide, and especially Things to Do in Gatlinburg With Kids.
We have cabins all over the area, so pick your vacation headquarters from our Wears Valley cabins, our Pigeon Forge rental cabins and our Gatlinburg cabins – and if you’re bringing a pet, review our lists of pet friendly cabins in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.