Abrams Falls Trail Rehabilitation Begins. National Park officials announced that a Trails Forever rehabilitation project in Cades Cove will begin on Abrams Falls Trail. The trail and associated parking areas will be closed May 10, 2021, through November 10, 2021, excluding federal holidays, on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. The trail will be fully open each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
“The Trails Forever partnership with the Friends of the Smokies has allowed our talented trail crews to completely transform some of the busiest trails across the park so that they can be enjoyed forever,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “We know that some will be disappointed by the temporary closures, but I can assure you that the long-term results are well worth the short-term inconvenience.”
Abrams Falls Trail is one of the busiest hiking trails in GSMNP. The trail winds through a pine-oak forest along Abrams Creek for 2.5 miles before reaching the 20-foot Abrams Falls. Due to high use, many areas are severely eroded and in need of repair to improve safety and to ensure the sustainability of the trail surface for years to come. The trail crew will focus rehabilitation efforts on several targeted locations between the trailhead and the falls. The work will improve overall trail safety and protect natural resources by improving the tread surface, reducing trail braiding, and improving drainage to prevent further erosion.
Due to the rehabilitation work along the narrow trail corridor, a full closure is necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. There will not be any access to Abrams Falls, Abrams Falls Trail, or associated parking lots during the weekday closures. Trailhead access from Cades Cove to the Rabbit Creek Trail will also be closed, but the trail itself will remain open and can be accessed from Abrams Creek.
Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have donated over $2 million to support the program, in part through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for a highly skilled trail crew to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including Trillium Gap, Rainbow Falls, Alum Cave, Chimney Tops, and Forney Ridge trails. In addition to the work on Abrams Falls Trail in 2021, the crews will perform other critical trail work across the park on trails such as the Noah Bud Ogle Nature Trail, Oconaluftee River Trail, and Fighting Creek Nature Trail.
The Trails Forever program also provides an opportunity for volunteers to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations. Volunteer workdays for the Trails Forever program are held every Tuesday, May through August. Prior registration is required. Please contact Trails and Facilities Volunteer Coordinator Adam Monroe at 828-497-1949.
Source material – GSMNP