Explore short trails - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

short trails Map
4 days ago

Beautiful waterfall!!! The trail leads along the river!!!
Well worth the hike.

5 days ago

Thursday 01/10/2019

Bald River Trail (also called Trail 88) begins to the left of the parking area which is left of a large waterfall visible by the road. The trail takes you to the top of the falls and continues on from there. It is easy to follow (but minimal signs and no blazes) and there are a few camping areas along the way. When you get to the sign with a map you’ll see two trails, the right takes you to a camping area and the left (heading up) is the trail.

There are a few minor water crossings and one more significant one that we reached about 1mi in. This one we did get a little wet at even while attempting to maneuver around it (SEE PHOTOS w/text labels). We only saw one other person while hiking this trail, everyone else was taking photos of the large waterfall from the road.

THIS TRAIL IS AMAZING and very easy (at least the half of it that we did). There are various water falls, a partial cave, rhododendron tunnels, neat rock formations, campsites, open areas, and steep areas. I would highly recommend this trail and would like to go back in the future. (I am an average or below average hiker who is also pregnant and was carrying a 14mo old.)

I believe most of these reviews are for the very short trail to the top, which is not the entirety of this trail. We hiked half-way in about 2.25mi in and back totaling roughly 4.5mi so my review is based off of that.

one of my favorite places

Hiked on New Year's Day. A little muddy but overall in good condition. Falls were flowing beautifully. A great short hike.

This was a pretty great trail! As someone who is highly active, coming back up had my heart rate going. There are lots of spots with really great scenery. There are some pretty cool high spots where you can look out and see way down and then some nice low spots. The waterfall is worth the hike in my opinion. We had a 7 year old and a 3 year old with us. The hike down was a bit slow for us because he walked the whole way but coming back up we backpacked him.

the walk to the falls is beautiful and fun to do easy enough to do with children

Yes the road to get there is rather rough but hikers aren’t pansy-asses and so you’ll all do fine and manage fine. The hike is short but the falls are cool. Nice trail to get there too. Really enjoyed this little jaunt.

9 days ago

Great trail, moderate difficulty. Creek all the way along the trail so it makes for great views all the way through. There's a great spot- rock formation that makes about a perfect bench- about 1/2 to 3/4ths of the way through to have a sit and snack. Destination is beautiful and well worth the hike. Went in January and there weren't many other hikers.

9 days ago

Easy to access trail ending with a beautiful waterfall with lots of areas to hammock and enjoy the upper and lower falls. Usually fairly crowded given the easy access but lots of lesser traveled spur trails to access from all sides of the trail. Sandy pines to rhododendron - beautiful!

10 days ago

Pretty easy trail with nominal elevation gain. Although, this is more of a summer trail, as there are 2 creek crossings. Winter weather and cold water don't mix well. But, was a nice hike none the less. The valley that it's in can be a little cool but it's not bad at all.

Excellent old growth trees and beautiful wildflowers!

12 days ago

Great hike for beginners. Not too difficult but enough to make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Has multiple spots for hammocking and the falls are great to take a quick dip into. Awesome for a warm summer day!

The trail is narrow and not for walking side by side. Going in is mostly downhill which gives you a work out on the way out. The trail was marked however the road getting there was not.

I loved this hike , very popular tho and crowded at the falls , we had to take turns taking pics of it ...one thing I was glad not to see was a lot of trash on the trail .... a lot of rocks and roots to . but very BEAUTIFUL. .. ITS A SIDE VIEW of the waterfall to .

Fun easy short hike, some of the trees are huge along the trail, some stream crossings. Will do it again in the spring when all the flowers rhododendrons are blooming.

scenic driving
19 days ago

We drove the Cherohala Skyway to River Road. What a beautiful drive! It was a rainy day so the water was flowing pretty heavily. River road lead straight to Bald River falls. There's parking on the other side of the bridge. People were in the road taking pictures of the falls from the bridge. There's a small trail to the left of the parking area that you can take to the top of the falls. It's a short, easy hike. Dog friendly as well. Pictures uploaded.

19 days ago

The drive in wasnt too bad. We were in a Mazda 3 2wd car and had zero issues. The road a little rough, looked like a storm came through with a lot of debri in the road. When the road comes to a fork, go right. The sign there is broken off, cant read it. The road will dead end, park there and the trail all the way to the left. Once you're on the trail follow the white markings on the trees. The trail is a decline all the way to the falls. Half way down the trail gets a little harder with rocks and tree roots. It took us about 20minutes to hike to the falls and what a beautiful site. Also had our dog with us and we were the only ones on the trail. Pictures uploaded.

21 days ago

Beautiful trail. Lots of difficulty crossing the river with all extra rain we've had. we didn't want to get wet considering the temps were in the forties when we visited.

Great trail for a quick and easy scenic hike. brought my four year old and he loved it.

25 days ago

Nice hike, not very difficult, interested in going back sometime.

25 days ago

One of my favorite places to go hiking, there’s so many places to stop for views and photos on the way to the trails. The trails are fun to hike and not too difficult, there are many different trails so there are plenty of reasons to revisit, not to mention the waterfall on the Benton Falls trail. There is also a swimming area with a beach, a picnic area, camping, etc.

Trail follows water most of the way. Around the halfway mark you'll make a steep climb before a sharp descent. At the top of that hill, I suggest climbing the boulders. You'll be rewarded with an incredible 360 degree view of the interweaving waterways. The falls at the end roars and is a great spot for lunch and pictures.

Easy trail, great views through the trees < was there in last October leaves were changing and falling.

Went on a rainy day, the wet conditions made the beginning more challenging; however, it was not crowded! Would definitely go again. Didn’t go the entire distance due to the river crossing.

nice little trail with a pleasant reward at the falls

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.

1 month 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.

1 month ago

Advice from a Local: Go on a day where there are many vehicles in the lot, don't leave valuables in your car (in sight or hidden) and park very close to the entrance if possible. On Thanksgiving Day while my man and I were on a hike for about 45 minutes, the passenger window of his truck was smashed with a nearby rock from an unknown party as they looted his vehicle.
Also, Wear Sport Sandals - you will need to cross 2-3 medium size streams, that range from 4 inches to 2 feet in depth, to get to the falls and while at the falls there is a large pool at the first base of the falls that you can go swimming in, so wear/bring your swimming suit.

My wife and I along with 6 friends took this hike today. We had a great time, good trail and beautiful falls!

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

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