Located in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Abrams Falls may be the most famous falls in the entire park. The water fall has more water flowing over it by volume than any other water fall in the GSMNP. It is also a dangerous waterfall for swimmers and people who get to close to the falls. You must respect the falls and not swim or put yourself in a position to fall in the water close to the falls. Death will occur. However, there is plenty of water to wade and possibly swim in around the waterfall that is safe (but really cold) and the waterfall is beautiful.
The hike is 5.2 miles round trip and is half shaded and half sunny. Take plenty of water and some lunch. Pack out what you pack in. Arrive early to avoid the Cades Cove traffic. Plan to be parked by 9 am if possible at the trailhead in order to have a nice day. Expect a delay leaving the park because you get to join the crowds circling Cades Cove.
The hike is kid friendly and our at the time 6 year old son can attest to. You should be able to walk 8 miles without issue before considering this hike. It does have some elevation gain and the trail is rocky in some spots.
Waterall location: Trailhead is located in Cades Cove, Great Smoky Mountain National Park. GPS Coordinates 35.591438' N 83.852988' W
Full frame recommended focal length: 16mm for right beside the water fall to 85mm away from the fall. Longer focal lengths are welcome as you will have plenty of space between you and the water fall.
Do's: Pack a hammock, lunch, and maybe your swim gear to wade in the water far away from the falls if you can stand the cold water. Have fun.
Don'ts: Do NOT get near the water falling into the lower pool. This waterfall has been listed as one of the ten most dangerous hikes in the entire United States. This is due to the number of drownings that occur at the falls. Once you go under, you stay under. Do not get too close to the falls and do not climb to the to top of the falls.