Abrams Falls TrailEasy

Cades Cove / Townsend, TN

Abrams Falls Trail

Distance (One Way)

4.2 miles

Elevation Gain

550 feet


Cades Cove


Townsend, TN

Trail Description Written by Caroline Sullivan

Abrams Falls Trail is an easy to moderate hike near Townsend, TN. The entire trail is 4.2 miles long, but only 2.5 miles to the waterfall (one way). The trailhead is located off of the 11-mile loop in Cades Cove. One of the most popular Smoky Mountains hiking trails in the park, the hike follows Abrams Creek and passes by Abrams Falls.

The trail to Abrams Falls waterfall is fairly worn and wide. The way to the falls feels more downhill than uphill, so it's a big more challenging on the way back. From start to finish the complete 4.2 miles has an elevation difference of 400 feet.

The trail to the falls traverses pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek. At the 1.0 mile marker, Abrams Falls trail crosses over Arbutus Ridge, one of the highest points on the trail at about 1850 feet. Beyond the ridge you will catch glimpses of the horseshoe, a popular spot for fly fishing, to the west.

Due to the length and terrain of Abrams Falls Trail, some visitors may rate the hike as more difficult than moderate. Definitely do not attempt the hike in sandals or flip flops; there are many rocky areas and at least 3 narrow log bridges to cross. It is also worth noting that if you begin your hike late in the afternoon, you may have to return in the dark.

Since the 1970s, nearly 30 people have suffered water-related deaths at Abrams Falls. Swimming near Abrams Falls is not recommended. Please use caution when viewing the waterfall; rocks near the water can be very slippery. Never climb on rocks around the waterfalls in the Smokies.

#cades cove
#townsend tn

Abrams Falls Trail Elevation Profile

Abrams Falls Trail Elevation Profile

Trail Difficulty Scales Explained

Elevation Grade


Fairly Flat

Paul Petzoldt Scale






Shenandoah Scale






Hiker Tips & Trivia

  • Make the trip early and be aware that both the trail and the waterfall area can get very crowded due to the hike's popularity.
  • The waterfall's pool has a strong current and undertow that is not suitable for swimming. It has been rated as one of the most dangerous hikes in America for this reason.

Photo Gallery (9)

Trail Map

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The above list of hiking trails in the Smokies is incomplete and constantly being updated. If you have information or photos you would like to contribute, please contact [email protected].

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