Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

I found a couple spots of this trail to be a little more difficult than “beginner level.”
But it’s worth the climb out. Beautiful falls! And much of the hike is alongside a creek.
There were lots of folks on the trail when I went in late April. Pack your patience for the Cade’s Cove Koop on the weekend :)

Enough uphills and downhills to keep everyone happy. Make sure to check out the trees early on in the hike and you can see where the forest fire must have come through.

3 up hills and 3 downhills going to the Falls and then back to the parking lot, Abrams Falls is well worth the walk. It is usually very crowded and you have to drive about half of the one way, Cades Cove Loop, to get to the trail head. I like the hike, but it isnt one I choose very often

8 days ago

A challenging hike well worth the views from Rocky Top.

11 days ago

Enjoyed the trail. Beautiful waterfall although I wish it was taller for a round trip of 5 miles just to go see it. Some members of my family found the trail to be a bit too challenging for them because of all the climbs and rocks along the trail. It is rated moderate and I would not recommend going on it if you’re looking for an easy trail. Liked that the trail goes along the river.

12 days ago

Beautiful falls....once you get to them. I would classify this more of a hard hike and if you have small children such as I did, don’t do it. Very rocky, rooted hike mostly uphill on the way to the falls, almost 2 miles of that. Trail is small with large drop offs so if you encounter other hikers it is a little dicey.
But on the other hand, you can’t beat the scenery or the waterfall once you get there. It was beautiful and worth the frightening hike to get there (I’m scared of heights).
So if you don’t mind a hard hike uphill over rocks and roots, this one is for you! If you have any children under 4, it’s probably not a good one for you to do.

12 days ago

Beautiful waterfall and great for swimming on hot days. Can be very crowded on weekends, so I recommend going during a weekday if possible. I think its about a mile or so longer then the 5 miles listed. Saw a bear on the long winding road there (plan time for the drive). Good for all skill levels.

Quick hike to a beautiful waterfall. My boyfriend and I are in pretty good shape and made it there in under 30 minutes. We hiked this in the early morning; starting the trail on a Saturday at 8:30 we saw no one during our hike and and he falls to ourselves.

I would rate this trail on the easier side of moderate; well marked, easy terrain with plenty of “leveling-off” spots to break up the assent. A wet trail, though, so wear good shoes.

Great short hike with interesting terrain and vegetation along the way. The falls are beautiful with space to get in the water and/or stand under the falls. We were there in August 2018 and there were a number of resident large and small butterflies when you get to the falls. Again, big payoff for minimal effort if you’ve got little kids, elderly, or whiny hiking companions (although perhaps we shouldn’t cater to the whiny people!).

13 days ago

Always a nice hike. Go early if you want to beat the crowds.

14 days ago

good lordy is this a thigh burner. first mile isnt bad but then its a constant incline. my camp site was over ran by bees so i just pushed to rocky top and thunder head. well worth the push. the blue haze and smokey clouds that roll in are worth an hour long site to embrace.

15 days ago

A beautiful trail along a river that leads to the Falls.
So many butterflies. Saw a large snake. I felt like definitely more uphill coming back!

This is Beautiful waterfall that you can get up close to feel its energy. We hiked this in the rain in early August. The trailhead is located in Tremont. The trail is marked as “falls trail” and not as spruce flats falls. Hiking poles are recommended for this moderately difficult trail although you could do this trail without them. It is rated as moderately difficult related to the rocks, roots, and incline. It’s worth the drive.

20 days ago

We took off via the Lead Cove trail head, and only ran into a few people before reaching the Bote Mountain split. It is a climb from start to finish. Spence Field is a great place to take a break before heading on up to Rocky Top, where the view is amazing. We spent more time up there than we meant to.

I knew what I was getting into with this hike, but it was still very challenging. Prepare for a long difficult trip if you aren't in excellent shape. My tracker also said that it was 12.8 instead of 11.6 round trip so keeping up with that threw me off a little bit.

Nice trail, not much to see until you get on top of the ridge, then beautiful. Saw two on the trail. Pretty cool.

Was a very nice hike to the falls, beyond that point there really weren't a lot of views, definitely thought there would be an overlook of the mountains. All-in-All a great hike.

This trail has become a family favorite! The falls are beautiful, and you can get into the water. We like to pack sandwiches and stay for a while. Trail is mostly shady. We took our kids last year at ages 8 & 11. They are good hikers and did fine. Last year, was 45 min in & 35min out; we all wore sports sandals. This year was 35 min each way! Highly recommend!

25 days ago

A great family hike! Awesome views and the falls where a fantastic lunch spot!

25 days ago

Nice trail. Not too strenuous, but still a decent workout if you keep a good pace. The trail looks like it was an old road at one time, so it's very wide and in good shape, overall.

The hike in took us about 1/2 an hour and my husband was packing our 17 month old in the baby carrier. The trail varies in grade and can be quite slippery in sections especially since it just rained. There were several families coming in and out with small children. Even though the trail is moderate, it seems small children don’t have a problem navigating it. The falls are breathtaking and you can reward yourself with an invigorating swim in one of the many swimming holes! Can’t wait to go back. I wish I could bring my dogs, but there are signs that clearly state “no dogs” allowed. I’m pretty sure it is a general rule in the park.

26 days ago

beautiful hike stenosis not moderate but worth it

My first hike I loved it

This was a great trail! Wasn't too long of a hike...and the Falls were amazing!

Nice hike with a pretty waterfall and great spot to swim at the end. We saw a bear on this trail!

Great trail. We made the same mistake lots of people make. If you start at the falls, when you get to the spot on the light red line where it looks like you go forward then backtrack, don’t go forward. Look for the spot just ahead of you to the left to go down the hill and cross the stream (the light red line on the map that looks like a back track IS a backtrack from people missing the stream crossing). From there on the path is fairly clear. If you think you missed the turn and you start getting into bushes with thorns, then you did go too far.


The hike was beautiful with a few waterfalls along the way. There are many side paths to get better views of the river and falls as well. The last half mile or so goes past the final waterfall up an incline to a fork where it meets other trails. If you are just looking for the waterfalls and not for the next connection point I would turn around after the last waterfall that you can see from a wooden walk bridge. The bridge has no rails and is wide enough for a car to drive over. Over all good hike! I would definitely recommend bringing bug spray!!

Nice walk in the woods. Was hoping for views that other people reviewed but they must only be in the winter and fall. Saw an elk and lots of cool Fungi.

1 month ago

Nice waterfall. Rocky and narrow trail. Short hike with good ending waterfall. Took about an hour.

great, quiet hike to a gorgeous falls and swimming pool.

1 month ago

ATTENTION: If you take the Lead Cove trail you will see bears guaranteed. They are harmless but on the way back down I walked within 5 feet of one in a laurel thicket before we noticed each other. Be aware of your surroundings

This is a great hike for multiple reasons. Before I explain why it’s important to know there are multiple ways to eventually reach Rocky Top. The description on here will take up the Lead Cove trail which is the route I took. The other way which people have reviewed on here is to start on the Anthony Creek trail near Cades Cove. Both are lightly traveled compared to most trails in the Smokies, but Lead Cove trail is less traveled.

The first time I tried to complete this trail was a late evening hike in which I walked up on a momma bear and cub. They were no threat, but they would only walk away not run... and stayed on the trail. They slowed me down so much that I had to hike back down as I was not going to make it to the summit before dark.

I completed it finally this week. I saw 0 people the first 3 miles up lead cove to Bote Mountain trail. I met one person at the Anthony Creek trail intersection. The hike has a gradual elevation gain all the way from the Trailhead to the AT. This portion is not difficult at all if you do any hiking at all. Once on the AT the climb to Rocky Top is constantly steep and moderately strenuous. There are 360 views at the top which includes views of Fontana Lake and Dam.

This hike is great for avid hikers who actually enjoy hiking and not taking essentially a group walk through the woods with tons of people.

Load More