Abrams Falls Trail

Abrams Falls Trail

Of all the hiking trails that snake through the historic Cades Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains, the Abrams Falls Trail is probably the most well known.  Taking hikers through pristine forested terrain full of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife, the trail is 5 miles round trip and can take anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hours to complete.  The highlight of the hike and the namesake of the path is Abrams Falls.  At 20 feet tall, Abrams is by no means the tallest waterfall in the country, but it does flush through an incredible volume of water and attracts thousands of visitors each year.

Abrams Falls Trail starts just off of the 10th stop on the Cades Cove loop.  During peak tourist season between July and August, the trail can attract more than 1000 visitors a day.  In order to avoid the crowds, it’s best to visit in the spring or fall, or arrive early in the morning during the summer.  The trail traverses numerous streams and other water features along the way and includes several log bridges.  In the summer Cades Cove blooms with rhododendrons, making for a colorful walk through the woods.  In the fall, the trail’s deciduous trees change into hues of orange, auburn and red.

Hiking the Trail

The trail makes for a beautiful hike regardless of the season and is suitable for most novice hikers.  There is an 1800 feet ascension over the course of the 2.5 mile path to the waterfall.  For most of the way, Abrams Creek will not be out of sight.  Considered one of the best fly fishing spots in the nation, the streams and creeks in Cades Cove are filled with beautiful rainbow trout, which can be fished throughout the year. Along with fish, sightings of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and even black bears are possible. 
Throughout the hike, wild birds in the forest canopy will serenade visitors with their songs. The canopy consists of a harmonious mixture of oak, maple, and hemlock trees.

Abrams Falls Trail

It is important to keep in mind that there are no restrooms or sources of drinking water along the Trail.  Visitors planning to hike the trail should bring their own water and a light snack for the journey. It’s important to wear suitable clothing and shoes. While the creek around Abrams Falls is a popular swimming spot, local authorities do not recommend it due to strong undercurrents. As long as hikers take proper preparation and safety precautions, this trail offers a beautiful half-day hike that is suitable for families.

Abrams Falls Trail Technical Information

Trail Name:Abrams Falls Trail
Trail Type:Out-and-back
Distance:Approximately 5.2 miles (round trip)
Elevation Gain:Approximately 340 feet
Duration:2-3 hours (round trip)
Best Time:Spring through Fall

Trail Description:

  • Overview: The Trail is a paradise for hikers and nature enthusiasts. This moderate, out-and-back trail spans approximately 5.2 miles round trip and is well-known for its stunning waterfall.
  • Trailhead: The trailhead is located near the Cades Cove Visitor Center. Follow the signs to the trailhead from the parking area.
  • Terrain: The trail features a well-maintained path through lush forested areas. There are some rocky and root-covered sections, so sturdy footwear is recommended.
  • Highlights:
    • Abrams Falls: The trail leads to the spectacular Abrams Falls, a 20-foot waterfall that plunges into a refreshing pool. It’s an ideal spot to cool off on a hot day.
    • Wildlife: Keep an eye out for various wildlife species, including deer, black bears, and a variety of birds. Be respectful and maintain a safe distance.