Explore the most popular 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.



no dogs


wild flowers



trail running

nature trips


horseback riding



kid friendly




Townsend, Tennessee Map

saw the eclipse from here back in 2017, saw it today w the ridge covered in half a foot of snow and ice fog, amazing both times

road biking
11 days ago

Beautiful, scenic loop. We did that on bike around 2-5 pm, which seemed to be a rush hour for cars. Everybody is driving slowly, there is not much room to overtake, so we had to stop every time a car would pass or we would overtake a car which slowed down for taking pictures. Next time we would rather go in the morning or on Wednesday and Saturday morning when it is completely shut for cars. Otherwise it was a lovely biking, would highly recommend.

11 days ago

Mod steep & a bit rocky in some places. At least one ez creek crossing- more in wet weather. This provides access to many good hiking options & is best entry to get to the AT and beyond, eg. Spence Field, Rocky Top, Jenkins Ridge etc.

Best hike in TN so far ! Steady slope on the way up ... last mile might be a bit more rough but the view at the top is so worth it just stunning ! 3 hrs up 2 hrs down
Enjoy !

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.

14 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.

I hiked this trail at peak leaf time and it did not disappoint. It was the most exhausting hike for me to date. Gregory Bald was a pleasant easy hike compared to this one. If you decide to climb ole rocky top make sure to strengthen the calf muscles beforehand.
As the graph indicates it’s all elevation gain to the summit. Although there is some reprieve from the elevation gain at Spence Field where you turn onto the AT, it is moderate for a short distance.

This is a great trail. We had limited time, so this hike fit. The trail is easy to reach, not hard to find parking, and was less traveled on the trail. GPS clocked 1.9 miles, but it is rocky and rooted, and the leaves hid a lot of that very well. I tend to agree that this is more moderate because of the terrain and narrow foot path. I took my 2 year old and it was pretty slow going.

Great hike! The trail distance and terrain was described well for this hike. Saw several traces of bears but no actual sighting. Enjoyed the hike and especially the view at the top. We were fortunate the weather was cool and the view from the top on this clear day is spectacular. Hiking poles, water, lunch and something to lay on at the top will make this hike special.

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

Beautiful and scenic walk in the woods, very gradual incline. Nice wide trail good for in-shape people, the length makes this a moderate hike, not the elevation changes.

We made it to the first overlook in about 3 hours but it was incredibly windy so we didn’t go any further. Nothing we saw warned us about the wind but we still got a great view at the first overlook before heading back. Other overlooks were only about 3/4 of a mile from the one we were at, so definitely doable when it’s not so windy. Hike back down took about 2 hours. Overall great hike, several grassy fields once you get to the AT

Parts of the loop were closed today. Signs warn you at the start of the loop. You can still do an up and back if you go left at the sign. Lots of easy creek crossings. Great way to spend Black Friday this morning.

Nothing too impressive about this trail. Very underwhelming in late fall. Would probably be more attractive in Spring when things are in bloom. Literally just did this to mark it off my list to achieve my GSMNP 900.

23 days ago

Straight up for a mile then back down. Awesome hike.

love this trail, good morning workout , fun

23 days ago

Nice short hike to lovely falls. Not as secluded as we had hoped.

One of the best. Waterfall more impressive than Abrams—especially after rainfall. Little to no other hikers. Great hidden gem.

Awesome hike, beautiful falls

scenic driving
1 month ago

I have done this drive a few times while staying near Gatlinburg; usually during the summer. The loop can be a slow drive if crowded and this is the reason why I give it a four star rating. There are some places to park and exit the car to explore.

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.

Fantastic! Last part a little tricky but not bad. Wonderful!!!

A true moderate hike but few rocks and roots. Was probably the best I’ve done all week. We saw a turkey also on the trail

We loved this short little hike... It was not so crowded. We easily navigated the roots and rocks. Well worth the effort!

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?

We had trouble finding the trailhead at first, because the sign just says "Falls," with no name or mileage number. It's right by a little parking lot and gift shop, though, which was great so that we could all use the restroom. The trail is easy in the sense that it's short, but is narrow, steep, and rooty, with some precarious edges, making it difficult if you get dizzy or out of breath easily. Otherwise, it's great fun and the kids loved it, and the falls were beautiful!!

Can combine this with Rich Mt beginning @ Rich Mt Rd & create a 12mi loop with plenty of elevation gain & loss. Good for trail running.

Fairly easy! Did this as a warm up before doing Charlie’s bunion! There are other trails attached to this as well. Didn’t go past spruce falls myself though.

I would also rate this moderate. Granted I had a 30 lb toddler on my back. But there were many precarious rooted sections/ muddy slick sections in the way. More on the moderate side of easy in my book.

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