Cades Cove

Cades Cove

Thunderhead Mountain with snow

Welcome to the most comprehensive Cades Cove site on the web.  Here you will find everything you need to know about all of the amenities.  Thanks so much for stopping by, and we hope that your trip is the best it can be.

Cades Cove is one of the most majestic area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  A deep, lush valley, it affords visitors some of the best wildlife viewing anywhere in the park.  Black Bears, White-tailed deer, coyotes, turkeys, raccoons, skunks, and many more animals call this area home.  The area is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of the Smokies with breathtaking views stretching across the vast open fields.

Hunting Grounds of the Cherokee

The area was a hunting ground for the Cherokee Indians dating back hundreds of years. However, there are no signs that the cove was ever a major settlement for the indigenous tribe.  The Europeans first begin settling the area between 1818 and 1821.  By the year 1830, the population had grown to a hardy 271.  As a result, Cades Cove enjoys a collection of historical buildings that are unique within in the GSM National Park.  An 11 mile loop runs the perimeter of the cove allowing bicyclist, walkers and motorists to enjoy the entire area as they make their way around the cove.

Cades Cove offers bicycle rentals on-site.

Along the loop, there are three historic churches, a active grist mill, several historic barns, log homes, and other structures.  Most of the buildings have been restored and they maintain the historic features from the eightieth and nineteenth centuries.  Guide books are available at the entrance road that provide in-depth details about the buildings and those that built them.

The Oliver Cabin

Expect to spend at least two to four hours touring and even longer you intend to walk the numerous trails along the way.  Please keep in mind that during the heavier tourist seasons the traffic can swell, so be sure to use the pullouts whenever you stop to view the gorgeous views or wildlife.  The cove is a wonderful place, and your courtesy makes it even better.

The Cades Cove Visitors’ Center

There is a visitors’ center that is opened daily along with restrooms, and the Cable Mill historic area (located about half way through the loop).  Visitors will have ample opportunity to hike as trails run through Cades Cove and include a five mile (2.5 miles each way) to Abrams Falls. Additionally there is the Cades Cove Nature Trail for those who want a beautiful hike that is a bit shorter.  Additionally, longer hikes to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top begin here.

For those who are a bit more serious about hiking, there are several designated backcountry campsites located along the trails (Permits required).

The loop closes to all traffic except bicycles and pedestrians until 10:00 each Saturday and Wednesday. This closure, from early May through late September, allows visitors a more personal and unimpeded experience. Otherwise, the loop road is open to motor vehicles from sunrise until sunset daily weather permitting. Horseback riding is offered through the Anthony Creek horse camp.  They are located very nearby offering backcountry rides to those who are interested.  To be sure that you will have the option to ride, please make reservations before your trip.

Cades Cove also boasts a 159 site campground that is open year round.  Campsites for tents and RVs (up to 35 feet) are available in the campground.  To reserve a site call (877) 477-6777.