Height of Falls: 20'
Round-Trip Hike: 5.0 mi.
Difficulty: Average / Half-Day
On the surface, Abrams Falls would appear to be a rather serene destination at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The hike to reach the falls is only approximately five miles round trip, and the waterfall itself is only 20 feet high. A closer look at the water, however, reveals a picturesque and unique Smoky Mountain waterfall attraction.
The large volume of water rushing over Abrams Falls offsets its relative lack of height. A long, deep pool at its base makes for a beautiful setting, but hikers should be forewarned: Due to strong currents and undertow, swimming in the pool at the base of the falls is extremely dangerous and has even resulted in swimmer deaths in the past.
The turnoff for the Abrams Falls trailhead is located past stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop Road and is signed. The trail traverses pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek. The hike to get to the falls is generally considered moderate in difficulty, although some visitors may rate it as difficult due to its length and terrain. A hike to the falls and back generally takes between three and four hours.
Abrams Falls is named for a Cherokee chief whose village once stood several miles downstream. Its striking appearance is a wonderful reminder of the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.