• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

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!

Pack List

  • Hiking boots
  • Camera with tripod
  • Water
  • Food/snacks
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Reviews

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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!

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

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.

about 1 year ago
about 1 year ago

As mentioned by others, the hike out to Abrams falls is worth checking out. The Cades Cove loop can get busy late in the afternoon though, I highly recommend hiking early to avoid traffic and crowds.

about 2 years ago
about 2 years ago

This is my go-to hike for those who are new to hiking in the Smokies. I first hiked to Abram's Falls over 20 years ago on Father's Day with my Dad. My Dad is not a hiker, and it is the only time I have been able to get hike to hike with me, so the fact he joined me for this one is a big deal. We ate lunch on the prominent rock seen in all the pictures (including the one above, with the girl standing on it), and I stripped down and took a dip in the bottom of the falls. Even though it was late June, the briskness of the water took my breath away. I have returned a few times, with my wife, with my wife and kids, and with my in-laws. i have a photo of my daughter trekking up the trail when she was 5. Many great memories around this hike...

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

This is by far one of my favorite hikes in the smokies. Going in the fall is always my favorite, but beating the crowds can be challenging. The traffic on the Cades cove loop can be crazy this time of year. For the most adventurous, the road is closed to car traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings which can be fun to bike to the trailhead. Expect to hike between 3 and 4 hours round trip and bring a camera. The falls ate exceptionally beautiful.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Jon King Explorer

Based in Kansas City. Instagram: @joneking

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