Explore the most popular birding trails near Townsend with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

16 hours ago

Go left at the very first fork! My partner and I went to the right and consequently about 1.5 miles out the way, you can easily get lost after the first .7 if you decide to go right. We fixed our mistake and ended up having a great hike up to the ridge. Overall a great and moderate first 4 miles of the trail!

This trail was great. It’s within walking distance to cafes cove camp ground right across from a visiting center with trail maps. Trail is marked really well and easy to follow. Definitely on the upper scale of moderate a lot of elevation. We saw a lot of bear poo on the trail but no bears.

road biking
1 day ago

The Loop was beautiful, we saw 2 black bears and got an excellent workout in. With a road bike definitely an easy ride, but in those rental cruisers I’d say moderate because they don’t handle hills well, and there was definitely a lot of them. If you decide to bike this go In the morning, they shut the road down to vehicles on Saturday between the hours or 7 and 10. We went when the roads were open and it was pretty much traffic and dodging cars. Still an excellent ride and I’m happy we did it.

This was definitely one of our favorite trails in the cades cove area. Watch for horse poo but this trail is along a stream with beautiful sounds and little waterfalls

This trail was great, it’s right in the camp ground and is a great way to begin your hiking weekend . There are a lot of information about the trees, pretty easy walk.

We hiked this today, a Wednesday. We headed out early so we wouldn’t get caught in the slow moving
Cades Cove Loop traffic. But we outsmarted ourselves, since the Loop is open to only bike traffic until 10:00 am on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you want an early start go a different morning. The trail is as advertised, moderate ups and downs all the way. Some parts are more rocky than I like. The mountain laurel was still blooming in many places. The falls are quite pretty with nice areas to rest and regroup before heading back.

Overall good experience. Had to turn back halfway due to part of trail being closed off. Very quiet. Our group was only ones on trail during that time.

5 days ago

Good short hike with a rewarding fall. We recommend!

We did this trail from the Cades Cove Picnic Area to Anthony's Creek to Rote Mountain to the AT.

Rocky Top is amazing, Thunderhead is less so but still a beautiful view. This is a worthwhile, 14-mile hike. The mountain laurel and flame azaleas are starting to bloom. Raspberry bushes and blueberry bushes are common on the AT before Rocky Top.

5 days ago

This trail is very easy to access from Townsend. While this trail can't boast of the spectacular views that some others can, it was quiet and enjoyable. Backcountry Campsite 18 was a great spot to relax. The rhododendrons were in bloom.

6 days ago

One of my favorite hikes in the Smokies!

8 days ago

Finding the trail was a bit tricky. Park maps don’t list it. I found someone who told me where to go.

Nice short hike but was more crowded than I expected. The waterfall is worth it and refreshing on a hot day.

on Middle Prong Trail

10 days ago

Great hike with our grandkids (ages 6 and 8). Trail is wide with a gradual incline so we rate it as easy. Beautiful views of the creek running beside the trail and we loved the waterfalls.

Get ready for a lot of ups and downs on the trail but it’s an amazing hike with beautiful falls.

the hike was great...up and down...would be too hard for kids under10...the one lane road in and out took forever. I did not like that.

mountain biking
15 days ago

Perfect loop for bicyclist. The better the bike the better the ride, used all 27 speeds several times. It is open only to foot or bicycles Wednesday and Saturday mornings till 10 AM. I got there late and had to ride amongst bumper to bumper traffic which really slowed me down and disallowed me to pick up speed going downhill and use the momentum to get me up the next. This caused me to work harder for an incredible leg and cardio workout. Will enjoy again soon I hope. Saw bear cub and two wild turkeys.

This has been my favorite hike of the week. The falls at the end are fantastic! Trail is narrow in some spots and there are some steep drops off to the side. I had a 10 year old and a 7 year old and they fared fine.

18 days ago

Park at Treemont gift shop and restroom. We hiked after a rain. It was a little bit slippery and strenuous. But a 6 year old made it okay. Very pretty waterfall and well worth the hike. Good waterflow and many accessible areas to get close to the falls. I do not think dogs are allowed on the trail. I would check with the Treemont gift shop to be sure.


20 days ago

We decided to hike this late morning after a great drive on part of the loop looking for bears. Seen too many bears to count, a coyote, turkey with chicks, beds and deer, thats on the drive. The hike was a bit over 5 miles, some work had been done on the trail so it was something you had to pay attention to when walking. Recent dirt moving, ditches and rocks removed so easy to step in the remanding holes. I did not find the hike hard and keep a good pace even on hills. Sen alot of lizards and a few put on a show of doing "pushups"! Blue bellied. You had your usual swimmers at the falls and a fisherman wading. Ate lunch and headed back, all in all a great trail.

Challenging but not too challenging! An overall great hike!

on Abrams Falls Trail

25 days ago

Overall a simple hike that winds through the forest over a handful of rolling hills. Be prepared to do some uphill hiking with this one. The trail is in great shape and there is a sizable area to enjoy the falls once you arrive.

Definitely a favorite of ours. We hiked this one twice now. Last time with all our children. They truly love this trail. follows the river through most of it so can always stop and take a break, especially with little ones and let them splash around. The waterfall is beautiful and some areas shallow enough to walk around and enjoy the water before heading back. We also started at the Abrams trail head, so was only just over 5 miles for us.

Did this in January '18. Went counter clockwise due to not getting started until noon. Pretty steep for the first 2 miles. Had campsite 6 all to myself which was awesome. With no leaves I had a few good views, but don't expect much with leaves on.

scenic driving
28 days ago

Absolutely gorgeous!   This is probably my favorite part of the National Park.  Just a beautiful drive with plenty of stop offs.  Great valleys and mountain ranges in the background.  It does not open till 10am on Wednesdays and Saturdays so plan accordingly.  Also it is kind of way off in a separate area of the park so if you are thinking of stopping at the various historic buildings along the way and maybe adding in the hike to Abrams Falls plan this to be the only thing you do that day.  Plus the drive out there is just nice with some places to pull over and look at the view of the river.  Finally, we went in early May and there was a lot of traffic, as it gets closer to the summer expect significant traffic and delays.

Beautiful hike on a true nature trail complete with all the natural rocks and roots. Falls at the end was beautiful. Highly recommend.

For the serious hikers only. Lots of covered, tight forestry to go through. we started backwards and did 3 miles up first instead of ending it that way. Glad we did, made the ending to the falls well worth the intense hike and challenge. Not recommended to go alone.

1 month ago

Went here on a day while exploring Cades Cove.  My biggest advice is: hike it in the morning because of shade.  Lots of the trail is uncovered, so in the late Spring it gets very hot.  It is a longish trail that is up and down both ways.  The waterfall was nice, but the payoff compared the cost of the long hike isn't there for me.  If you are already doing Cades Cove then yes go ahead and do it, but I wouldn't make a special trip to this hike.

This trail is a very nice trail to hike on any day of the week will do it more

Strenuous on a hot day. Not easy by any means. The trail is very rocky and there is no view until you get to the top. There was a massive amount of bugs at the top. There must be better hikes in the Smokies...this is the only one I have done.

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