Features: Birding — Fall Colors — River/Creek — Spring — Waterfall — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Dogs: No Dogs
Just northwest of the Cades Cove Visitor Center, the trailhead for the Abrams Falls
Trail is off the side of Cades Cove Loop Road, between exits 10 and 11. A gravel road leads to a large parking area near the trailhead.
This is one of many popular day trips in the Smokies. Shortly into the trail, runners will cross a footbridge over Abrams Creek. The run to the Abrams Falls
is fairly level the entire time. Along the way, the forest and rhododendron surround the trail as it follows the creek.
The falls are a great place to sit down and relax for a picnic. While the falls are only 20' feet high, it pours a huge volume of water per second into a pool roughly 100' wide.
It's important to exercise caution near the falls and not to get too close. Don't climb on the slippery rocks or swim in the water. Backpacker Magazine listed this trail amongst the "10 most dangerous hikes in America" in 2008 (due to accidents near the falls).
Runners can choose to run along past the falls towards Hannah Mountain Trail
and Little Bottoms Trail
, allowing the option to run some excellent loops and head back to the parking area.
The Smokies are home to more than 1,600 species of plants, most of which produce an abundance of flowers in the spring. These species include mountain laurel, rhododendron, azalea, and many others. Spring wildflowers peak from early April through late May. To learn more about the plants of the Smokies and even get a trees and shrubs checklist, visit (nps.gov/grsm/learn/nature/p…
As for local fauna, black bears are common in the area, along with white-tailed deer and 31 species of salamanders.
Birdwatchers can spot a variety of species, notably the northern flicker (Colaptes auratus) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus).
For more information on black bears, refer to this webpage: