There is simply no questions that the Cades Cove Loop Road is the reason so many park guests visit Cades Cove. This 11 mile loop circles the entirety of Cades Cove and allows guests to take in most of the park from the comfort of their own car or bicycle. The paved loop affords some of the most beautiful scenery you will find anywhere in the world. This coupled with opportunities to see the indigenous wildlife of Cades Cove makes the Cades Cove Loop Road a must see for Great Smoky Mountains Park visitors. The loop is open all year round, weather permitting, from sunrise to sunset. During the months of May through September the road is closed to motor traffic on Wednesdays and Saturdays until 10:00 to allow exclusive use for bicycle riders and walkers/joggers. A tour of the Cades Cove Loop Road will affords visitors clear views of most of the park, and easy access to the buildings and hiking trails located throughout the area.
The Cades Cove Loop Road begins off of Laurel Creek Road and provides access to nearly every attraction available in the Cades Cove area. The attractions are found along the Cades Cove Loop Road are as Follows:
- John Oliver Cabin
- Primitive Baptist Church
- Methodist Church
- Missionary Baptist Church
- Cooper Road Trail
- Elijah Oliver Place
- Abrams Trail and Falls
- Cable Mills Area Visitors Center
- Henry Whitehead Place
- Cades Cove Nature Trail
- Dan Lawson Place
- Tipton Place
- Carter Shields Cabin
- Ranger Station
- Picnic Area, Campground, Horse Stables, General Store, and more
Of course all along the loop visitors will find world class views of both open prairie and the surrounding mountains. Many of the Cades Cove photographs you have seen were taking right along the Cades Cove Loop Road. Additionally, you are very likely to see the indigenous wildlife without ever leaving the road. That said, the Cades Cove Loop Road is best used as transportation to get you to the trails and spaces that can only be experienced on foot.
Whether you are an experienced hiker or simply someone who enjoys a nature walk, you will not be disappointed by the options on the Loop Road. As you drive along the road, you will find several opportunities to pull off for exploration. The buildings, the open spaces, and even the wooded areas offer natural diversity that is difficult to find anywhere else in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Plan you trip now and determine just how you want to spend you day at Cades Cove. Just be certain that you allocate a full day, because simply driving along the Cades Cove Loop Road will only give you part of the experience. To enjoy the park and take full advantage of its offerings, you will want to do some serious exploration.