The mountains were there and so was I. -Maurice Herzog
Abrams Falls via Abrams Campground/Little Bottoms Trail – 09/13/14
Saturday was a day that I had originally planned on hiking Gregory’s Bald, but with the cloud cover and the misting of rain I knew visibility wouldn’t be very good for seeing anything from the bald.
Enter plan B:
The truth is… I’ve had this trail on my radar since I mentioned it in a post earlier this year. It’s been in the back of my head and I guess you could say I was saving it for a rainy day….
It’s probably safe to say that Abrams Falls is THE most popular hike in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s trailhead, which is situated on the 11 mile Cades Cove loop road is easy access to the millions on people that visit the park each year. This along with the relative short distance of the trail (2.5 miles to the falls) and the fact that this is not a very strenuous hike make it the perfect cocktail for a quick, easy and CROWDED stroll in great outdoors.
…Needless to say, I wanted something alittle more ‘off the grid’…. Thankfully this trail had it all.
The trail can be found on the west end of the park. It actually starts in the Abrams Creek campground (a very nice, quiet, and small… we will defiantly be coming back here for sure) to get there you drive along Chilhowee Lake turning left and going through Happy Valley.
The hike itself is a long (almost 10 miles total) hike as you will follow Abrams creek, switchbacks over ridges, old growth forest (including dying fraser fir trees) and even going through a section that was pretty heavily damaged several years ago by a tornado. Along with the scenic views, probably my favorite part of this hike was the utter seclusion we experienced during our hike. My wife and I only passed two other groups of people hiking this route to the falls and one other person camping in backcountry campsite 17.
Once we reached the Falls, I would guess there were maybe 30-40 people on site… no doubt they all came from the other, shorter route… I’m not complaining though! We loved taking the less popular, quieter path…having the trail to our self. We stayed long enough at the falls to eat our lunch and snap a few pictures then we turned back and took the path less traveled. All in all it was a great day to be in the outdoors.