Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

Lots of roots to trip on and not much to see as you go up as far as overlooks. Steady incline and the azaleas are amazing. Worth the hike, it was a workout!

Hard hike, beautiful at the bottom and the top. Azaleas in bloom in June.

1 day ago

Nice hike. Azaleas were in bloom so very pretty at top. Gradual elevation gain of around 3,300 feet makes it a moderate hike.

2 days ago

Good short hike with a rewarding fall. We recommend!

Saw a bear, toad, Fox, deer, and snake

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.

Wonderful hike in the back of Cades cove with views of the valley. First half of the trip follows the stream until the campsite, then a steady uphill climb to the top. Flame azaleas in mid June are worth the trip.

2 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.

3 days ago

One of my favorite hikes in the Smokies!

A gorgeous hike. It starts off next to a rushing creek with many bridges and waterbeds to cross (wear boots- almost wore my sneakers to save my older boots the wear and tear, but I was thankful I opted boots once I hit a few spots where you're forced into shallow mud or water.) After you leave the rushing waters it pretty much a gradual uphill with some areas steeper than others but there was usually always a slight reprieve somewhere. The whole route in general is fairly smooth. At the very end toward the bald I would say it was the steepest and had some loose rock but nothing serious. I loved the different environments the trail enters and even with a packed parking lot, the trail was secluded and we rarely came across anyone. Overall, I would say if you are in okay shape (can walk on the treadmill for extended amounts of time at above a 10 incline) then this is actually a moderate trail. One last thing.. LEAVE EARLY TO GET THERE!! I did not look at the route to drive in.. did not realize it makes you take the one way loop through Cades Cove... so if you leave late.. you will arrive very very late ( and frustrated). Also the Azaleas are blooming right now!

4 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

7 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.

One of my favorite hikes. Walking along the creek was so relaxing and beautiful.

This is a fairly easy trail and one of my all time favorites. It has beautiful cascades along the way to the pretty waterfall.

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
12 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.

14 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.


We took part of this trail up to Rocky Top as a two night backpacking trip. We stayed at campsite #10 off of the Russell Field Trail and then hiked to Spencefield Shelter, dropped off our gear, and climbed Rocky Top. Pretty difficult hike, you'll be feeling your quads by the end. Stunning views and super fun getting to meet thru-hikers of the AT. We then hiked back to our vehicle at the campground in Cades Cove. Would definitely recommend this trail to experience some of the AT

17 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

22 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.

not a bad overall hike, basically following an old logging road. if your not paying attention you will miss the hiker signs for the car and the falls, redid the wood arrows while I was out.

scenic driving
24 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.

Load More