Cades Cove Nature Trail

The Cades Cove Nature Trail offers visitors a low impact hike through some of the most beautiful country you are likely to see in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The trail is located about 7 miles into the Cades cove loop road and about 1 mile past the visitor center.  

The trail is about 2 miles long and is rated as easy, so as long as you do not have health issues, it should be fine for hikers of all ages.  Access to the trail is also quite easy as the trailhead is directly off of the Cases Cove Loop Road.  The trail runs in a circle so you will end up essentially where you started as you finish your hike.  Hikers should plan to take about an hour for the hike, assuming a relatively leisurely pace.  There are brochures available at the Visitor Center that describe the trail and what you may see while hiking.

Enjoy Nature Along the Way

Generally, the Nature Trail will afford some great opportunities to see the indigenous plant life in Cades Cove, and there is also a reasonable chance that you may see some of the cove’s wildlife as well.  Visitors have seen avert thing from raccoons to black bears during their hikes on the trail. While you are likely to see other hikers on the nature trail, its seldom crowded nature ensures your experience remains unaffected by large groups. The trail is especially colorful during spring hikes where you will see blooming flowers throughout your hike.

Make sure that you take the time to work in this pleasant hike as you plan for your time in Cades Cove.  As one of the easier hikes in the area, it makes a great option for those who really want to get into the natural habitat.

Cades Cove Nature Trail

Location: Near Townsend, Tennessee, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Length: 0.8 miles

Elevation Gain: 203 feet

Difficulty Level: Moderately challenging

Trail Type: Loop

Surface Type: Well-maintained, with a mix of natural surfaces

Average Hiking Time: Approximately 26 minutes

Accessibility: Not accessible for wheelchairs or strollers due to elevation and natural surfaces

Features: Green trees, small bridges, and potential for seasonal color changes

Safety Considerations: Wildlife sightings (evidence of bears), no dogs allowed

Best Time to Visit: February through November

Trailhead Access: Parking in the store/ranger station lot, with a walk along the campground road to reach the trailhead (no vehicle access for non-campers)

Parking Availability: Available at the store/ranger station, but may be busy

Nearby Facilities: Facilities likely available at the ranger station/store area

Visitor Remarks: The trail has some initial elevation, making it more challenging than a typical nature stroll. It is well maintained and offers beautiful views, especially in autumn. Despite busy parking, the trail itself can offer solitude.