Abram’s Falls From a teenager’s viewpoint:
Abram’s Falls is one of the most gorgeous waterfalls I’ve ever seen! It has such a wonderful view and was totally worth the hike!
Abram’s Falls is located in Cades Cove of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in the North Carolina half of the park. When you enter the National Park, there is a visitor center. The visitor center is around an hour away from Abram’s Falls. Once you get to the Cade’s Cove entrance, there is a one-way road that pretty much goes straight there.
At Abram’s Falls, you definitely want to wear tennis shoes! There are a lot of rocks, hills, puddles from the rain, and tree stumps. Another thing you might want to consider, is that there are three log bridges that would be hard to cross without a good pair of shoes, especially in the rain! I would also recommend wearing pants, so you can protect your legs better and so you can have a better chance of not getting bitten by any mosquitos or any other bugs- as hot as it may be. One more recommendation is that you wear dry wicking clothes because it rains a lot! If you do get wet, you will dry faster than wearing normal cotton clothes. Some of us learned THAT the hard way! After about ¼ of the way down, a thunderstorm started and didn’t end until we were at the falls; so it was nice to have most of us dry quickly.
Be careful to watch out for bears and snakes. They are both out and about- during the summer especially! When we were there, a group coming back up warned my mom about a cottonmouth mocassin at the banks of the falls. We never saw it but the possibility is always there. Just be cautious!
You will certainly need to have some water and some food to provide energy. There is no place to fill up your water bottles, except at the Visitor’s Center (about an hour away from the falls). Five miles, in the heat, nowhere near a clean water source, can be BAD news! It’s always smart to stay hydrated! And, by the time you come back up, you will need to eat something to give you some energy- i.e. crackers, protein bars, etc.
Restrooms are located at the visitors center (which, again, is about an hour away from Abram’s Falls) and right outside the entrance to falls’ trail. The restrooms outside of the falls, are more like porta potties, but bigger and cleaner, than your ordinary portable toilet.
The trail is five miles (2.5 miles there, 2.5 back.) and starts off with a wide bridge with rails, going over a creek. After the bridge, there is a sign saying “Abrams Falls 2.5. Moderately difficult 3-4 hour hike, NO restrooms or drinking water, Pack out your litter, NO pets, NO bicycles”. The way down to the falls was pretty easy with the correct shoes, plenty of food and water, and going down hill. The hardest part was the bumpy and uneven trail, and the rain certainly did NOT help! Some spots had big puddles where we had to go around. No complaints about the rain though! We were cooled off on our way back up!
As I mentioned earlier, there are three log bridges, that are narrow and have a distant rail. There was a sign next to one of the bridges that had said there have been four deaths at that particular bridge. We encourage you to be cautious! There are tree stumps, rocks, and hills you have to climb over or go around. You will want to watch your step. Coming back up was the hardest part for our family. It wasn’t too steep, but steep enough it was hard to get smaller legs to keep up with bigger legs. So I would recommend having 1-2 hours set for just getting back up. It shouldn’t take more than 2 hours, but you never know! The boys both tripped at least twice each! They didn’t have the best quality shoes, and the wet ground made it a little slippery.
As hard as the hike may be, the wonderful view was worth it! And I loved how charming it was on the way down and up! There was always something to look at- whether it was a creek, a pretty butterfly, the ground, or the luscious trees and plants!
For more information about Abram’s Falls, and find out if there are any warnings for closures or bear sitings, visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/abrams-falls.htm.
And, don’t forget your camera!!!!