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Beautiful the whole way through, with the river running parallel for the first bit of the hike and several smaller falls along the way. Loved the wooden and rock bridges and saw a few deer as well. It was raining during our ascent, and because it’s highly trafficked, it resulted in a muddy mess on the way down. This trail is very rocky and I highly recommend proper footwear, especially with the rain and mud. Great trail but would be better once it dries out in a couple days. The waterfalls were huge though because of the rain!

This is a scenic trail with lots of great views. However, it is extremely muddy and slick. I would not recommend it as a trail run.

Easy trail and nice views. Quick hike to a decent waterfall.

13 days ago

Great hike from either end but for me it is a little harder than moderate but well worth the hike.

Beautiful, easy hike through a quiet forest along a lovely river.

on Rainbow Falls Trail

13 days ago

Even though it was super cold it was still an awesome hike!!! Snowing at the falls and it was gorgous!!! Closer to the falls the ground and rock crossings were icy. But it was still a great hike!!!

God this was the trail that led to my first view of a waterfall. Waterfall was breathless and worth the hike. However park ranger told us it was pretty easy hike, but my friend and I were struggling. Then again we weren't used to the altitude. Also lots of inclines, definitely not for beginners. Plenty of people hiking on trail which made me feel safe.

Having read everything we could get our hands on about the Walker Sisters and being fascinated with their story, my wife & I considered the hike to their home to be a pilgrimage of sorts. It’s a particularly special place for those who are familiar with their lives and their story. Walking through the cabin where these ladies lived for so many years was a moving experience.
The stop at Little Greenbrier School on the way to the cabin is worth a few minutes. (See if you can recognize one of the Walker Sisters in the class photo on the interpretive panel!) Glad to see so many of these historic structures being maintained, although it’s discouraging to see so much graffiti on many of them. (Portable toilet near parking area at school.) Trail continues at gate above parking area.
Recommend hiking from Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area (plenty of parking, restrooms locked when picnic area is closed) rather than driving to the school and hiking from there to the cabin. Trail begins at far end of vehicular bridge across from picnic area and features several stream crossings on sturdy footlogs.

The drive itself is quite a treat. Although paved, the road is narrow and winding.
All the historic structures along this route are worth exploring. Glad to see so many of these buildings being maintained. Definitely recommend purchasing the self-guiding brochure, which provides a wealth of information about each stop.
Wife & I did this after a day of heavy rain, and the Place of a Thousand Drips near the end of the route was simply incredible!

16 days ago

Wife & I made this our first stop in Cades Cove to beat the crowds while everyone else was exploring the 3 churches. Large parking lot with 2 pit toilets at trailhead.
This hike was quite enjoyable on a beautiful autumn day, and the falls themselves were impressive. The trail stays close to Abrams Creek much of the way, which makes the hiking all the more pleasurable.
The path is broad and smooth most of the time. On the way to the falls, the trail makes 4 crossings of feeder streams on sturdy footlogs. Although this hike could probably be done in sneakers, hiking boots with good ankle support are perhaps a better choice.
Recommend the side trip to the Elijah Oliver Place – interesting cabin and outbuildings.
As always, carry – and drink – plenty of water, and take some energy snacks (or lunch) to enjoy at the falls before heading back to the trailhead. Even though much of this trail is shaded, sunscreen is never a bad idea. And since the trail is near the creek much of the time, bug spray is advisable during the warmer months.
Highly recommend driving Rich Mountain Road out of Cades Cove. It’s a winding forest road with awesome views! And dinner at one of Townsend’s restaurants is a nice alternative to the craziness of downtown Gatlinburg.

Was very steep! The beginning along the water in the woods was beautiful. Waterfall not impressive. Much more abundant falls in North Carolina.

nature trips
20 days ago

easy trail

Beautiful trail, but we didn’t see many people on this route through Cucumber Gap and it could use a little work. Trail signs were present and easy to follow once we found Cucumber Gap.

We started at Jake’s Trail because the parking lot at Little River was full. So, unless you turn around after Little River & Cucumber Gap, it really isnt a “loop”. It was a little confusing, but the map helped. There was a steady climb for the first 3 miles and a challenging water crossing. So, if the parking lot is full, you may want to park by Jake’s Trail, but walk down the road to start at Little River Trail. To finish the loop, we had to walk up the road.

I enjoyed the longer trail, but it was more challenging. Luckily, someone laid a bunch of logs over a stream and we bushwacked about 50 ft to find it. We could not have crossed otherwise, water moving quickly due to previous rain
i assume.

Once we arrived at Little River Trail, it was more crowded (and for obvious reasons: there was a waterfall, scenic river views and ALL Flat).

Old cabins are laid out along the historic trail which is also accessible from this trail.

Easy hike, but the parking can be confusing. For the shorter hike, you can park right near the falls, which is located by Park HQ (not visitor center). For the longer trail (which I recommend), park at the visitor center and walk behind the building. You will see a sign for the falls. Nice hike along the streams.

Beautiful very easy for the kids very wet tho.

Pretty lot of bears

Easy and pretty

Day after Thanksgiving, not too crowded. I have heard the trail can get busy. It was just the right moderate for after turkey day.

great hike on the way in, few streams to cross but nothing bad, close to the falls it’s really steep but nothing bad, however the way back is the worst part because it’s all up hill well worth it though

24 days ago

The falls are great. The trip out is tough.

First 0.6 mi section of trail is slightly difficult with some grade, roots, and one log bridge, til it reaches the Greenbrier School. The rest of the trail (1.1 mi) is an all gravel, wheelchair accessible, from the schoolhouse parking lot on. Very nice easy walk in the sun, listening to the small steams that run along side the path. Ends at the Walker sister’s cabin, an extremely well maintained, picturesque, log cabin from the early 1900s.

Easy, good for kids, but can get very crowded at peak times, especially at the school

Good for kids

1 month ago

One of my favorite trails. I did not like all the bear jams along Cade’s cove though. Took a long time to get out of the park. But we’ll worth it. Saw a total of 16 bears mostly mammas with their cubs. Wild turkey. The biggest red headed woodpecker I ever saw and bunch of deer. Great day.

on Cataract Falls

1 month ago

Not really sure how long this trail was but it seemed like maybe about three quarter of a mile round trip. The falls itself was ok. And if you continue to the left of the falls you can reach laurel falls in about 10 miles and cove cave in about 8. Lol.

The walk in was steep and slippery in spots. Bridge crossings where slick and had ice. Snow closer to the Falls. Was worth the hike! 16,433 steps according to my watch. Recommend for those that want to see beautiful water falls. We did see a huge buck driving in. Then we saw a bear both going up and heading down.

trail running
1 month ago

Easy trail to run, better for nature walk with kids, especially with Cataract Falls being an engaging end point. Well marked and scenic!

1 month ago

Beautiful trail! Longer than expected, but worth it. There were down trees, and a lot of rocks and roots, so you have to be cautious. The waterfall was beautiful, and I’ll never forget it. My boyfriend proposed at the fall. What’s not to love?

all time favorite

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