Hike to Abrams Falls

Added by Jon King

This moderate hike should take about 3-4 hours, with a powerful waterfall, scenic drive. You'll have a peaceful creek and a beautiful forest.

Abrams Falls is arguably the most scenic waterfall in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

One of the biggest perks of hiking Abrams Falls is the drive to get there. The trailhead is located approximately 5 miles into the scenic Cades Cove Loop. Cades Cove is an adventure in itself. Keep your eye out for black bears, deer and wild turkey. If you are taking the self guided auto tour, Abrams Falls Trail is located just after stop #10. Turn right on the gravel road and park in the large parking lot.

Just after the trailhead, keep left at the first junction towards Abrams Falls. The trail is well marked and maintained. You'll follow Abrams Creek for the majority of the hike. Although you gain 675 feet in elevation, the trail feels fairly level for most of the way. Once you reach the waterfall, pick a spot to picnic, relax and take in the scenery. Remember to leave no trace!

Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high but has the feel of a massive waterfall due to it's high volume of water. The pool at the base of the falls may look tempting to swim in. However, the National Park Services strongly discourages this. Visitors have drowned in this area due to the powerful current and undertow.

Abrams Falls is one of the most popular hikes in the park. It's always a bummer to reach your destination only to find a crowd of people. We hiked on a weekday in April and were lucky enough to have the waterfall all to ourselves for over 30 minutes. To avoid large crowds, start early in the morning. You may also want to consider hiking on a weekday or during the off season.

After the hike enjoy the rest of Cades Cove Loop and keep that camera ready!

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🥇Top Contributor

3 months ago

Long day hike that has a great reward.

After biking in, the extra miles to get to this spot seemed daunting. I was glad I did it. This place is a serene waterfall and creek town soak in on a hot day.


5 months ago

One of the top sights in the park.

I have hiked this trail several times and I always look forward to it. The drive along the Cades Cove Loop to the trailhead is beautiful and wildlife can usually be spotted as well. I would rate this hike between easy and moderate as there is some elevation gain but not in one continuous climb. Abrams Creek parallels the trail for a significant portion and there are plenty of access points along the creek to take a break or just enjoy the scenery. As mentioned in almost every post…the crowds. We last went during Memorial Day weekend and the crowds were unbearable. It wasn’t the crowds along the trail or at the falls that bothered me. It was the drive along Cades Cove Loop. We moved at a snail’s pace as it was bumper to bumper and also one-way. I would heed the advice and start early. Also heed the warnings regarding swimming at the pool near the base of the falls. This is a powerful waterfall and the current is very strong, not to mention the amount of debris that is likely to reside at the bottom. With all that being said, do not let the crowds be a deterrent. This is a beautiful waterfall and a great hike in a gorgeous area of the park.

🥇Top Contributor

over 2 years ago

Abrams Falls

One of the nicest waterfalls in the Smokies, it is a long hike but well worth it.

A great hike, but it can get crowded

Whenever friends ask for hike recommendations in the Smokies, this is one of the first ones that comes to mind. It's a great day hike, not too strenuous, and you get to check out a beautiful water fall. The trail is very popular though and during peak tourist season, it's best to get on the trail and start hiking early to beat the crowds. You have to drive around Cades Cove to get to the trailhead which can also be a little hectic during the peak summer months. But again, just head out early and you can probably avoid all of that. Plus, Cades Cove has tons of wildlife-- deer, turkeys, bears, coyotes... it's worth the hike!

🥈 Contributor

almost 4 years ago

A+ :)

I remember falling asleep on a rock in the sun while listening to the rush of Abrams Falls. Good memories. A hike that is worth the time.

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