Abrams Falls Trail#7 in Best Things To Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Named for a Cherokee chief whose village once occupied a spot alongside the creek, Abrams Falls is small, but mighty. While the falls are only 20 feet high, they pump out a large volume of water, creating a long, deep pool at its base. The 5-mile, round-trip hike through the forest is considered moderate for experienced hikers, but difficult for novices, and rangers recommend carrying a supply of water and wearing sturdy hiking shoes. Swimming in the pool at the base of falls is extremely dangerous, due to strong currents and an undertow.
Many recent visitors said this hike offered a great way to escape the summer heat, with many recommending hikers pack a picnic lunch to enjoy by the water. Some also advised using hiking poles on the rough and unpaved path, and many noted that this trail was particularly crowded with amateur photographers. Hikers also suggest setting out on the trail early in the morning or later in the afternoon to enjoy some peace and quiet. One family noted that although the hike is fairly long their children were enthralled with the scenery.
The trailhead is located past the No. 10 stop on the Cades Cove Loop Road. Pets and bicycles are not allowed on the trail. The area is known for its abundant wildlife, so check the park website for information on bear safety. Access to the trail is free.
More Best Things To Do in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
#1 Roaring Fork Motor Trail
The Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail, a nearly 6-mile-long, one-way loop road, offers spectacular mountain scenery and access to two of the region's most popular waterfalls: Rainbow Falls and Grotto Falls. You can actually walk behind the 25-foot high falls at the Grotto via the Trillium Gap Trail. You'll also see historic log cabins and the remains of a mountain village, the Roaring Fork Cemetery and an array of wildlife from birds and deer to black bears.
Recent visitors who raved about the beautiful waterfalls and mountain scenery on this motor trail said this is a must-see and a great place to spot bears in the wild. However, some summer tourists bemoaned the fact that the trail was crowded and offered limited parking areas. To avoid the midday rush of visitors, plan your drive in the morning to beat the crowds.
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