Abrams Falls, Great Smoky Mountains NP


Abrams Falls is found along the Abrams Falls trail from within Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Although I’ve visited Cades Cove multiple times this was the first time we hiked in to see the falls.

Abrams Falls In Cades Cove in The Great Smoky Mountains NP

The Hike To Abrams Falls

To get to Abrams Falls you take the Abrams Falls trail from the designated parking lot. It’s a 5 mile round trip hike that is of moderate difficulty. What makes it difficult is that in some areas you are forced to hike, carefully, over rocky terrain as well as numerous tree roots. Allow 3-4 hours to complete the hike plus photography time on site. The trail follows Abrams Creek for part of the hike which makes for some enjoyable views along the way. The hike is a popular one in Cades Cove so if you go on the weekend, expect plenty of people on the trail as well as at the falls.

Wildlife On The Trail

Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains has a black bear population of 2 bears per square mile. That’s considered a reasonably high population comparatively speaking. Be aware that black bears are commonly sighted in Cades Cove. Our hike along the Abrams Trail was no exception as we encountered a bear about 40 feet up a hillside from the trail while we were hiking. There are rules in place that prohibit you from interacting with the bears and, frankly, they really don’t want anything to do with us. They just want to forage for food and be left alone. Another common sighting is the occasional snake on the trail. Like the bears, leave the snakes alone and they won’t have a reason to bother you.

Photography at Abrams Falls

Making an image here that you’ll be happy with once you’re finished requires patience if the falls are corowded. On this particular day, it took about 2 hours to get positioned and get the photos we wanted as we waited for people to move. One of the activities that continues to baffle me is when folks think it’s safe to climb the falls. I’ve seen this at other waterfalls I’ve visited and I dread the day I see someone slip and get hurt. Signs are posted here about climbing on the rocks but they are ignored.

Equipment Used

This image was made using the Fuji X-Pro1 and the Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4. Exposure of 7 seconds at f/11 ISO 800. A polarizing filter was used to take the glare off the water. I used a higher ISO so that I could have a shorter shutter speed to retain some detail and texture in the flowing water.


© 2012 The F/Stop Guy: Abrams Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park

  • Credit: Ken Rowland
This entry was posted in Landscape, Long Exposure Photography and tagged , , , , .


  1. Len Saltiel October 22, 2012 at 7:29 AM #

    What a beautiful scene Ken. Love the silky water. Well worth the trek there.
    Len Saltiel recently posted..Panoramic SendonaMy Profile

  2. Steven Perlmutter October 22, 2012 at 12:52 PM #

    Wonderful shot Ken. Great job with the motion in the water.
    Steven Perlmutter recently posted..Fall SplendorMy Profile

  3. Edith Levy October 23, 2012 at 3:47 PM #

    Wow Ken. This is a spectacular shot. Beautiful composition. The exposure is spot on. I love it.
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  4. Jim Nix October 25, 2012 at 11:36 PM #

    that a beauty for sure!
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  5. Malcolm Brown November 16, 2012 at 2:28 PM #

    Stunning Ken. Love it.
    What cable release do you use with your Xpro.

    • The F/Stop Guy November 16, 2012 at 5:45 PM #

      I’m using a 40″ cable release I got from Adorama. It was about $20 if I recall. You can get them cheaper but I opted for something a little higher in quality.

  6. James November 14, 2013 at 3:26 PM #

    What polarizing filters do you use? Linear/circular/brand?

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