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Are you visiting the Great Smoky Mountains? Make sure to check out Abrams Falls– a popular waterfall hike in Cades Cove.
A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided to go on a spur-of-the-moment hiking trip to the Smoky Mountains.
I planned two long, strenuous hikes for our trip– one on the Alum Cave Trail to the peak of Mount LeConte and the other to Charlies Bunion and the Jump Off.
I knew, however, that before we leapt into long, difficult hikes, we needed a slightly easier (but not too easy) trail to warm up our legs.
For our warm-up hike, I chose Abrams Falls.
Looking for more things to do in the Smoky Mountains? Hike Sweat Heifer Creek Trail, Deep Creek, or Andrews Bald, and check out our tips for hiking in the Smokies and avoiding crowds.
What Should I Know About Abrams Falls?
Abrams Falls is a 5-mile moderately difficult hike, with a 629-foot elevation change.
The path is relatively easy to walk on, but in places tree roots or rocks cover the trail.
The trail crosses several log bridges.
I recommend bringing along a trekking pole to make the hike a little easier.
How do I Get to the Trailhead?
To get to the trailhead, drive on Cades Cove Scenic Loop, and drive about halfway around the loop to turn onto the unpaved road between signs number 10 and 11.
Keep in mind that Cades Cove Scenic Loop is closed to cars Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10 am. That means you can’t get to the trailhead before 10 a.m. on those mornings unless you walk.
Be aware that the road to the trailhead is one-way and cars move slowly (because they’re looking for wildlife). I recommend starting out early in the morning for this trail, and even then, don’t be in a hurry.
The cool thing about the road to Abrams Falls is that it is a fabulous place to spot wildlife!
The morning we hiked it, we saw five bears on the Cades Cove loop (and thankfully, none on the hike!).
As of spring 2023, you’ll need a paid parking pass any time you’re stopping for more than 15 minutes. You can buy it online or when you arrive at the park.
Is Abrams Falls a Dangerous Trail?
A couple of years ago, I saw Abrams Falls on a list of the “10 Most Dangerous Hikes in America.”
Well, in my opinion, this hike is not especially dangerous– if you stay out of the water.
The water under the waterfall can create a dangerous undertow— stay out of the water!
Headed to the Smokies? Check out my recommended hiking gear for the Smoky Mountains!
Hiking to Abrams Falls
Start at the trailhead sign, and keep walking!
You’ll walk alongside the creek for the first part of the hike and over log bridges.
The trail elevation rises and falls frequently, and the trail crosses the creek several times.
As you walk, take time to look around you.
The moss covered logs in the creek are beautiful, and there are wildflowers everywhere.
Eventually, you’ll come to a warning sign for the falls.
At this point, the trail begins to go downhill towards the waterfall.
The waterfall is surrounded by large rocks, making it easy to get a close look, but walk carefully– wet rocks can be slippery.
We hiked to Abrams Falls in September when the water flow was lower than usual, but it was still a gorgeous waterfall!
When you arrive at the waterfall, take some time to enjoy the view! Eat a snack, drink some water, and then head back the way you came.
Once you reach your car, you’ll (have to) complete the Cades Cove loop, and try to spot some wildlife!
Want more waterfall trails in the Smokies? Try Laurel Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Grotto Falls.
Thank you so much for your information! My husband and I are heading to the Smokey’s for the first time this week and I have planned for the same three hikes as you! ☺️
You’re so welcome!! I hope you have an awesome time!