There are so many great hiking trails in Blount County it can be hard to pick a favorite. But since we have to choose, here are our top 3 hiking trails:
Abrams Falls Trailhead
The Abrams Falls Trailhead has one great feature: Abrams Falls! There are a couple of different hiking trails you can take; the easiest one is around 5 miles out and back, begins at the trailhead exit at Cades Cove Loop Road, and also features the Abrams Creek Walkway. No expensive hiking gear is needed for this hike; a pair of comfortable shoes with extra socks or some hiking boots will serve you just fine. Come prepared for rain, just in case, and be careful on the rocks around the Falls – they get pretty slippery!
There’s an alternate route available beginning at the Abrams Creek Ranger Station. This hike is 12 miles, and so is better suited for more experienced hikers. Either way, you get to enjoy the beauty of the Falls and the wildlife; Abrams Falls delivers a massive rush of water, and bears can occasionally be spotted from the trail.
If wildflowers are your thing, check out the Gregory Bald trail. This 9-mile loop is moderately difficult, starts at Parsons Branch Road (accessible via the Cades Cove Loop Road and the Forge Creek Road), and includes a couple famous features, namely the Bald itself and the flame azaleas that bloom at its summit.
What’s a Bald? Well, a bald is a summit covered in local vegetation like grasses (instead of trees), and it being a summit means that there’s some climbing involved with the trail, as well as great views and a serious sense of accomplishment. Gregory Bald is known for its multicolored flame azaleas, a type of wildflower that reach their peak in mid-June, and comes in colors as varied as wine red, salmon, and pink. Gregory Bald trail reaches an elevation of almost 5000 feet above sea level, and Rich Mountain, Clingmans Dome, Fontana Lake, and other local features are all visible from the summit.
Middle Prong Trail
If you’re looking for a taste of history on your next hike, look no further than the Middle Prong Trail. This trail is approximately 8 miles round trip, includes a beautiful stream, cascading waterfall, a historical logging area, and is accessible from the end of Upper Tremont Road, which you can find about 3 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont.
Hikers at Middle Prong Trail can expect to find plants like dwarf iris and violets, and they’ll see waterfalls and streams alongside the path as they go. Artifacts from days gone by are actually present along the trail, including remnants from its time as a logging trail in the early 1900s, like an abandoned Cadillac and old railroad ties. This history is actually part of the reason why the trail is so wide and smooth at certain points – the loggers needed it to be that way.
Go On – Take a Hike!
Blount County has dozens of great hikes and ways to get outdoors, so don’t wait until the weather changes for the worse. Find your favorite hiking trails today!