This hike is one of the most popular day outings in the Smokies. Abrams Falls
is a destination that you won't want to miss.
Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Family Friendly: A relatively easy trail with gentle grades and a manageable length make this a great option for the whole family. Be sure to stop by the nearby Cades Cover Visitor Center before or after the hike!
Dogs: No Dogs
The trailhead for the Abrams Falls Trail
is located off the side of Cades Cove Loop Road, between exits 10 and 11, just northwest of the Cades Cover Visitor Center. A gravel road leads to a large parking area near the trailhead, and the turnoff is signed.
Start your hike on the Abrams Falls Trail
. A short way into the trail, hikers will cross a footbridge over Abrams Creek. The hike to the Abrams Falls
is fairly level the entire time with a slight overall descent as it follows along the creek. Along the way, be sure to look for rhododendron in the woods surrounding the trail. The trail heads through a scenic pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek.
About 2.5 miles, you'll come to Abrams Falls
which are a great place to sit down and relax for a picnic. While the waterfall is only 20 feet high, it pours a huge volume of water per second into a pool roughly 100 feet wide. The long, deep pool at the base of Abrams Falls
is very picturesque. Use caution near the falls, however, and do not get too close. The rocks surrounding the falls are extremely slippery due to the mist from the falls.
From Abrams Falls
, hikers can choose to extend their hike past the falls towards Hannah Mountain Trail
and Little Bottoms Trail
, allowing the option to hike some excellent loops for those looking for a longer outing. For those who are happy with an outing to and from the falls, just retrace your steps back to the parking area to finish out this hike.
The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May.
As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders. Birdwatchers can also spot a variety of species along this trail.
The waterfall and creek are named for a Cherokee chief whose village once stood several miles downstream.