Lush swaths of Pine Oak forest, leaf-strewn trails dappled in golden sunlight, plus the soothing sounds of cascading falls.
Avid adventurers from all over the world come to the Great Smoky Mountains Park to reconnect with nature and sometimes even chase waterfalls! One of the park's more difficult but equally rewarding hikes can be found at Abrams Falls. Follow along to find out everything you need to know about Abram Falls in Cades Cove.
This Cades Cove waterfall may be only 20 feet high, but the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height.
Visitors will feel transported to a world of gurgling creeks, glistening rocks, and spectacular foliage as they take on this 5-mile journey of wooden bridge crossings and ascending ridges.
While the trail may prove challenging at times, intrepid hikers will be rewarded by possible bear, deer, and elk sightings. Spot the deep pool at the base of the falls, or snag a photo in front of the blooming rhododendrons.
Ready to tackle the falls? Read on!
About Abram Falls Trail
Curious about the history of these breathtaking cascades? The Cades Cove waterfalls were named after the Cherokee Indian Chief Oskuh who changed his name to Abram.
His village once stood several miles downstream of this moderate in difficulty trail. Indeed, the Abrams Falls trail is a perfect example of the picturesque scenery that the Smoky Mountains are famous for. Within this lushly forested area, visitors can find over 1,600 flowering plants and 100 native tree species.
The rich ecosystem is also home to elk, whitetail deer, fox, and black bears. As always, we encourage hikers to read up on bear safety and please never approach or feed any of the park’s wildlife.
Abram Falls Directions
Packed up your SPF, GORP, and copious amounts of bottled water? Well, now it’s high time to hit that trailhead. This reasonably challenging journey to the falls will begin at the Abrams Falls Trailhead, located at the far west end of the Cades Cove area.
Related Post: Cades Cove Loop - Complete In-Depth Guide
To arrive at the trailhead, simply drive 4.8 miles along the one-way Cades Cove Loop Road. After crossing Abrams Creek, turn right onto a gravel road.
After driving 4/10 of a mile through a grassy pasture, you will reach the large parking area. Here, visitors will spot signs and a wooden footbridge that will mark the trail’s course.
Abrams Falls Trail Hike Overview
Can’t wait to soak in one of the most voluminous falls of the Great Smoky Mountains? While Abrams Falls may only measure out at 20 ft, the large volume of water rushing into the pool at the base makes for an arresting sight. Start your warm-up stretches now, as this 5-mile round trip will take approximately 3 -4 hours and features a total elevation gain of 675 feet.
Begin your trek at the large wooden bridge that crosses over Abrams Creek. For most of the hike, the trail will follow the creek, allowing hikers to revel in the trickling sounds of flowing water.
Be wary, as during the first half of the short side trail, some spots will require maneuvering with ridges. Come prepared with proper footwear as there will be opportunities for creek hopping.
Immerse yourself in the sweeping scenery of Pine Oak forests and Hemlock and Rhododendron thickets as you approach the trail's midpoint.
At the 2.5-mile mark hikers will cross over another waterway called Wilsons Creek that will bring them to the plunging Falls. Cross a footbridge and arrive at this large ‘beach area’ to stop and scope out the rushing waters.
Please take heed not to climb or attempt to climb the slippery rocks surrounding the falls. Over the years, there have been many accidents and even deaths due to hikers slipping from the rocks.
In addition, the NPS warns visitors that it is extremely dangerous to swim in the water below the falls due to the unexpectedly strong currents. It is due to these rocks and unforgiving currents that Abrams Falls Trails are often listed as one of the most dangerous hikes in America.
What to Bring
No one wants a hunger-inspired meltdown holding them back from enjoying the rugged beauty of the falls! Plan for a perfect Abrams Falls hike when you bring along the following must-have hiking items:
- Proper Hiking Shoes/boots
- Phone and/or camera
- Sufficient bottled water (suggested two quarts per person)
- Snacks and/or light meal
- Rain gear and/or rain pants for colder weather
- Bug Repellent
- First Aid Kit
- Change of clothes and socks
- Trail Map
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Waterproof matches
Other Pigeon Forge Things to Do
Need to give your barking dogs a rest? While the Great Smoky Mountain National Park may be the sparkling jewel of Tennessee, there are countless things to do in Pigeon Forge after you’ve conquered the Abrams Falls hiking trail.
Watch craftsman at work at Dollywood, or set sail for some high seas adventure with a swashbuckling supper at Pirates Voyage. Let loose with a night of LOL-worthy comedy or soak in the scenery from a 200 ft observation wheel.
Whether you are in the mood for live entertainment, plates piled high with BBQ, or scenic helicopter tours this mountain city offers something for everyone.
Pigeon Forge Hotels
Before we dive into the nitty gritty details regarding your hike to Abrams Falls, we suggest you extend your stay in the Cades Cove area. This lush, over 6,000-acre oasis is home to various wildlife, 19th-century historic buildings, and an 11-mile scenic auto tour loop.
Make the most of your Abram Falls, Gatlinburg, TN stay when you lock down some lodgings. Reserve any of our Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg Hotels and sleep in spacious comfort. After a strenuous hike, unwind with a steamy hot tub soak. Or, indulge in a complimentary hot breakfast before your early morning hike.
Wherever you book, sleep easy knowing you are always guaranteed our lowest rates online.
Dreaming about a Smoky Mountain refuge? Escape the confines of your desk for some fresh mountain air and Cades Cove scenery when you make a date with Abrams Falls.
A wonderland of rhododendrons, otters, and rushing water, this moderately strenuous hike is well worth the steps.
Whip out your camera to document the scenic overlooks, or work on that balance when you creek hop.
Watch the whitetail deer elegantly prance away, or frolic in the wildflowers and vibrant fall foliage.
All set for Your Abrams Adventure?
Have you hiked this trail? Leave us a comment below!