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Hiking Waterfalls in Tennessee
by Johnny Molloy (Falcon 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.
Best Easy Day Hikes: Great Smoky Mountains National Park
by Randy Johnson (Falcon Guides)
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.
Hiking Great Smoky Mountains National Park
by Kevin Adams (Falcon Guides)
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.
by Kelley Roark and Stuart Carroll (Falcon Guides)
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.
Top Trails: Great Smoky Mountains National Park - 2nd Edition
by Johnny Molloy (Wilderness Press)
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.
Day & Overnight Hikes in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
by Johnny Molloy (Menasha Ridge Press)
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.
This is an easy and beautiful hike. However, the hike is very popular so expect a lot of company along the route.
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.
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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