Abrams Falls Trail

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee

Distance4.2mi
Elevation Gain1,586ft
Trailhead Elevation1,708ft
Top1,753ft
Elevation Min/Max1269/1753ft
Elevation Start/End1708/1708ft

Abrams Falls Trail

Abrams Falls Trail is a hiking trail in Blount County, Tennessee. It is within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is 4.2 miles long and begins at 1,708 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.4 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,586 feet. Near the trailhead there is parking. This trail connects with the following: Rabbit Creek Trail, Hannah Mountain Trail, Hatcher Mountain Trail and Wet Bottom Trail.

Abrams Falls Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Perhaps the most famous falls in Tennessee, certainly within the boundaries of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Abrams Falls is a powerful rumbler.

Here, the entirety of Abrams Creek drops over a stream-wide ledge, loudly landing in a pool large enough to accommodate the throngs of visitors who flock to it during the Smokies tourist season. However, do not let the crowds deter you—Abrams Falls’ beauty and legend make it a must for Volunteer State waterfallers."

"This dramatic waterfall—the park’s biggest by volume of water—leaps off a ledge into a misty plunge pool. Tackle this trail after significant rain and you’ll be impressed.

Cross the bridge to start the hike, and the trail wanders streamside on a rocky, stony tread. It then climbs moderately to a crest, and dips into a beautiful dark forest of bigger trees. Now on a packed earth path, you’ll dip back down to the stream—the first of three times the route will climb into the quiet well above the rushing sounds of Abrams Creek, and then return."

"Abrams Falls is only about 20 feet high, but it has the greatest water volume of any major waterfall in the park, and also the largest plunge pool. The hike follows closely
beside Abrams Creek nearly the entire way, adding to the scenic appeal.

The trailhead is located about halfway around the 11.0-mile one-way loop road in Cades Cove. Cades Cove receives more visitors (more than two million annually) than all but ten of our national parks. You can expect lots of traffic on the drive to the trailhead as well as on the hike to the falls."

"This well-worn 2.5-mile trail passes up and down along a ridgeline, with views of the river below from the ridge at times. It passes through a gap that has some nice views, before descending the back side of the ridge to Abrams Falls, which is at a lower elevation than where you began.

The falls are beautiful and secluded, though you will find some tourist traffic in the summer because of the falls’ wide pool, which has a rock and sand bottom. Parents with small children should keep them close in this water, as it can be deceptively strong."

"The hike to Abrams Falls from Cades Cove can be heavily peopled, but the sight and sounds of the wide falls are an experience to be shared by one and all. The trail to the falls, alternately coursing among waterside evergreens and hillside piney woods, parallels Abrams Creek in unbroken beauty. The falls is a true rumbler and has an incredibly large pool.

Winter offers the most solitude. The falls will be at its boldest then as well as in the spring. Summer can be hot and crowded but is good for swimming. Consider going early or late in the day during potentially busy times."

"Travel the ultrascenic and lesser visited Abrams Creek valley to reach a signature Smokies waterfall. Much of the hike travels through the rugged Abrams Creek gorge, offering streamside views and continuous beauty. Vistas of Chilhowee Mountain open in places.

Abrams Falls will be its boldest during winter and spring. You will also enjoy solitude and relatively mild winter temperatures on this lowland trek that never rises above 1,600 feet of elevation. May has the added benefit of trailside mountain laurel blooms. Summer brings crowds to the falls, the vast majority coming from Cades Cove."

"It’s hard to believe how few people you’ll see taking this route to the popular Abrams Falls. The sounds of Abrams Creek will keep you company for most of the hike, though.

This hike starts on Cooper Road Trail, behind the Abrams Creek campground. Follow this jeep road through a fading hemlock forest and across Kingfisher Creek, which can be a wet crossing in high water."

"Cooper Road was once a major access route into Cades Cove. Its wide and relatively gentle grade makes it a popular trail for equestrians and hikers. While you’re likely to encounter horses and a few hikers along portions of this hike, you’ll probably have most of it to yourself.

Walk along the gravel road to Abrams Creek Campground and take one of the forks through the campground to the other side. Cooper Road Trail begins here, beyond the gate."

Abrams Falls Trail Reviews

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7/18/2018
This is a must-do hike for any trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, assuming you and your traveling companions are comfortable with a moderately difficult trail. It’s beautiful and relatively short (as trails go in the Great Smoky Mountains). The hike from the Cades Cove Loop Road to the Falls is 2.5 miles, so it’s a total of 5 miles round trip. The reward of seeing Abrams Falls for yourself makes the hike well worth the effort. The trail is well kept, but it is rocky. You won’t have to wade through water, but you will have to cross over some narrow primitive bridges. Dogs are not allowed. Bicycles are not allowed.
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5/6/2018
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7/17/2012
This is an easy and beautiful hike. However, the hike is very popular so expect a lot of company along the route.
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10/19/2009
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1/11/2009
Began the hike @ 12:00pm on an extremely foggy, overcast day. The temperature was 34 degrees and it sleeted lightly at different points along the hike. The weather was perfect. We didn't pass more than 8 hikers the entire way in or out, and it was very peaceful and quiet. The hike, while almost 5 miles round-trip, is fairly easy with gentle elevation changes and a very wide, smooth trail. The falls are gorgeous. We marched right up to them and sat down to eat our packed lunch not 10 feet away from the falling water. We had the place to ourselves. While the trees were bare, they were still beautiful. THis hike is definitely a great experience on a cold winter day...the lack of other people was a blessing and very enjoyable.
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8/16/2008
It was my first time backpacking and we our first trail we traveled was Abram Falls and out farther. The trail has some rough terrain. I wouldn't say it is an easy trail but not too difficult either. The scenery was beautiful. There wasn't much wildlife. Seeing the sun peek through the trees and hearing the water running down below was very nice. I enjoyed this trail. The falls were worth it. Very pretty to see and to see all the kids having a good time.
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6/10/2008
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10/1/2007
. there are 2 approaches to this trail. greg's review is from the abram's creek ranger station and campground. our approach was from the parking lot near the mill in cades cove. very crowded for a 5 mile round trip hike. Passed approx 60 hikers on the way in and about the same on the way out. Hiked on a Sunday morning. falls are great. trail is wide and a moderate challenge. found families along the way regretting allowing their toddlers and children wear flip-flops. surface is rooty and a mild grade both ways. enjoyable hike but probably better taken during the week.
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3/19/2007
Reasonable easy trail, with just three ups and downs. Many low level steam views along the way. Small but pretty waterfall at trails end with generous places to sit and enjoy the view. Well reccomended for hikers in any physical condition.
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11/2/2006
excellent hike. beautiful scenery. the waterfall was awesome. there is a rock ledge to the left just before the falls that you can climb and walk to the top of the falls for a great view. then you can climb straight up the hill on the left side of the falls to get back to the trail instead of climbing back down the rock ledge. if you do this trail on a weekend, you might want to consider driving to the backside trail to the falls. it is about a 3 mile one way hike to the trails but this will save you a ton of driving time. the drive is longer but the traffic is horrible in cades cove on the weekends. if you dont mind taking about 4 hours to drive 11 miles, then go ahead and enter through cades cove loop. here are the directions to the backside trail. For backside of Abrams, you will do an end around the park. This will add some mileage to your hike as well. Candidly, it will take you awhile to make the drive, but the views on this drive are very special on the route. coming from Gatlinburg or pigeon forge, go west on Wears Valley Road or Laurel Creek to get to Towsend, take 321 North out of townsend toward Maryville. This parallels the Little River and just prior to getting to Walland you will see signs for The "Foothills Parkway". It is only 18 miles over the parkway. You will come to a t-intersection at Chilhowee Lake. Take a left and an another immediate left on Happy Valley Road. This Road dead ends at the ranger station. Take Little Bottoms Trail to Abrams Falls trail. As you return, and if you have time cut over on Hannah Mountain trail to Rabbit Creek Trail to make this a loop route. When you get back to the car, if you have time, you want to stop on the Foothills Parkway at look rock. This trail to the tower is paved. It is just 1/2 mile, steep, but the tower view is incredible.
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Abrams Falls Trail Photos

Trail Information

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Nearby City
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Parks
Swimming, Hiking, Camping
Additional Use
Views, Wildflowers, Waterfalls
Features
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, 107 Park Headquarters Rd., Gatlinburg, TN 37738, (865) 436-1200, www.nps.gov/grsm
Local Contacts
Great Smoky Mountains National Park; USGS Mount LeConte
Local Maps