Abrams Falls

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Popular hike from Cades Cove to a waterfall and great swimming hole.

Hiking Moderate

Distance
8 km
Ascent
222 m
Descent
222 m
Duration
1-2 hrs
Low Point
450 m
High Point
539 m
Gradient
Abrams Falls Map

Abrams Falls is a high-volume waterfall about 20 feet high that drops into a large pool with great swimming spots and a wide beach of river stones. It’s extremely popular during warm months for the swimming, but scenic at any time of year. The hike begins from Cades Cove Loop, so getting to the trailhead can be a headache on busy days because of traffic on the one-way road. Come with a mindset to take it slow and enjoy the views; they are sublime.

Description

The trail leaves the open valley of Cades Cove for dense forest along Abrams Creek. It makes many ups and downs to traverse this steep gorge. Rocks and roots and slippery sections are prevalent, so take care. The hike is mostly under closed canopy but you’ll notice some sunny gaps and lots of dead trees. The Smokies have suffered from pine beetle and other pests in recent years, and a tornado even ripped through this valley at one point. The forest is constantly changing and adapting, however, and you’ll see new growth reclaiming its place.

The trail stays on the hillside above the creek, but in places you can gaze over the rhododendron to see it flowing below. The water will look especially tempting on a hot day. Just keep hiking and soon enough will come the reward. After crossing a footbridge, a side trail leads down to the waterfall and swimming hole. You’ll hear the thunder of the water before you see it. Tread carefully on the slippery rocks, and choose either a sunny or shady spot by the large pool to relax.

Sources: https://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/abrams-falls.htm

Difficulty

Moderate

Hiking along trails with some uneven terrain and small hills. Small rocks and roots may be present.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Features

  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Wild flowers
  • Water features
  • Family friendly
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation