A Guide to Cades Cove Campground

A Guide to Cades Cove Campground

Welcome to Cades Cove Campground, nestled in the picturesque Cades Cove area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you’re looking for a serene and historic camping experience, this is the perfect destination for you. With its tranquil surroundings, nearby hiking trails, Abrams Creek for water fun, and horseback riding options, Cades Cove Campground offers a unique camping experience in the beautiful Cades Cove valley.

Cades Cove Campground features over 150 individual campsites and 4 group campsites, providing plenty of options for your camping needs. Whether you prefer a private camping spot or are planning a group camping trip, you’ll find suitable accommodations here. The campground offers basic amenities such as flush toilets and a well-stocked campground store, ensuring a comfortable stay during your camping adventure.

Stay tuned for the rest of this guide as we delve into the reasons why Cades Cove Campground is a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts, detailed campground information and reservations, available amenities, group camping options, safety guidelines, and exciting activities to enjoy near the campground.

Reasons to Camp at Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove Campground is the ideal choice for camping in Cades Cove. Located amidst the stunning scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, this campground offers unrivaled access to the picturesque valley. When you choose to camp here, you’ll not only experience the natural beauty of Cades Cove but also enjoy a range of exciting activities and unforgettable moments.

One of the main advantages of camping at Cades Cove Campground is the opportunity to explore the area before the loop road opens to cars. This means you can soak in the peaceful and serene atmosphere of the valley, free from the noise and congestion that come with heavy traffic. Experience the tranquility of Cades Cove at its finest.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Cades Cove Campground provides excellent hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, you’ll find trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. Embark on an adventure as you traverse the Cades Cove nature trails.

When the sun is shining and you want to cool off, head to Abrams Creek. This pristine waterway is perfect for swimming, fishing, and picnicking. Immerse yourself in the refreshing waters, surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature. It’s the ideal spot to relax and unwind during your camping trip.

A unique feature of Cades Cove Campground is the opportunity to go horseback riding in the cove. Take the reins and explore the trails on horseback, allowing you to connect with nature in a truly special way. It’s an unforgettable experience that sets Cades Cove Campground apart from other camping destinations.

Camping at Cades Cove also offers the chance to witness spectacular sunrises and sunsets over the mountains. Imagine waking up to the soft glow of the rising sun and taking in the breathtaking colors as they paint the sky during sunset. These awe-inspiring moments will create lifelong memories and leave you in awe of nature’s beauty.

Cades Cove Campground truly provides a unique and unforgettable camping experience. From the peacefulness of the valley to the abundance of outdoor activities, this campground is the perfect haven for nature lovers and adventure seekers. Discover the best that Cades Cove has to offer and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Campground Details and Reservations

When planning your camping trip to Cades Cove, it’s important to know the details and reservation options available at the Cades Cove Campground. Whether you’re looking for an individual campsite or a group campsite, here’s what you need to know:

Campsite Options

The Cades Cove Campground offers over 150 individual campsites, providing plenty of options for a peaceful and enjoyable camping experience. The campsites are split into two loops, B loop and C loop. Both loops accommodate RVs and tents, with designated tent-only sites available as well. The B loop allows generators from 8am-8pm for your convenience.

Reservations and Rates

To secure your spot at the Cades Cove Campground, it is strongly recommended to make a reservation, particularly during the busy summer and fall seasons. Reservations can be made up to 6 months in advance. The campground is open year-round, allowing you to experience the beauty of Cades Cove in every season.

Individual campsites cost $25 per night, which includes space for up to 6 people. If you’re planning a camping trip with a larger group, the campground also offers 4 group campsites. These group sites can accommodate either 20 or 30 people and share a bathhouse equipped with flush toilets.

Plan Ahead for a Memorable Camping Experience

To ensure a memorable camping experience at Cades Cove Campground, be sure to make your reservations in advance. By reserving your campsite, you can secure your spot and avoid any disappointment due to limited availability. Whether you’re interested in exploring the historic Cades Cove area or immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove Campground provides the ideal base for your adventure.

Amenities at Cades Cove Campground

When you choose to camp at Cades Cove Campground, you can enjoy a range of amenities that will make your camping experience comfortable and convenient.

Although the campground offers basic facilities, such as flush toilets and sinks, please note that showers are not available at the campground or any other campground within the park.

However, you’ll find a well-stocked Campground Store conveniently located within the campground. The store is the perfect place to stock up on all your camping essentials. From groceries and camping supplies to firewood, ice, and basic picnic supplies, you’ll find everything you need for a enjoyable stay.

The Campground Store also offers a seasonal deli, where you can grab a quick and delicious meal. Choose from a variety of options including pizzas, burgers, ice cream, and to-go sandwiches. Whether you’re in need of a snack, a meal, or any essential items, the Campground Store has got you covered.

Group Sites in Cades Cove Campground

When planning a camping trip in the scenic Cades Cove Campground, consider the convenience and camaraderie of reserving one of their group sites. Cades Cove Campground offers 4 group sites that can accommodate either 20 or 30 people, making them ideal for large groups or families looking to enjoy the great outdoors together.

These group campsites are located on their own loop within the campground, providing a sense of privacy and exclusivity. One of the standout group sites, G3, features a large covered picnic table pavilion, perfect for gathering and enjoying meals together. Notably, G3 is also handicapped accessible, ensuring that everyone can participate in the camping experience.

The group sites share a bathhouse with flush toilets, providing the essential amenities for a comfortable stay. Although showers are not available in the bathhouse, ample facilities are available for maintaining personal hygiene throughout your camping adventure.

Reserving a group site at Cades Cove Campground can enhance the sense of community and make for unforgettable memories. From group hikes along the nearby trails to communal campfire gatherings, these sites are designed to facilitate bonding and shared experiences.

If you’re organizing a family reunion, group trip, or simply want to enjoy the company of friends while camping in the breathtaking Cades Cove, group sites at Cades Cove Campground are an excellent choice. Be sure to check availability and make your reservation well in advance to secure your spot.

Bathrooms at Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove Campground provides convenient restroom facilities in both the B loop and C loop. Each building is equipped with multiple flush toilets and sinks that have running water, ensuring a comfortable camping experience. However, please note that there are no showers available at the campground.

The cleanliness of the bathrooms may vary depending on fellow campers, so it is advisable to camp away from the restroom buildings to avoid heavy foot traffic. By choosing a more secluded campsite, you can enjoy some privacy and a peaceful camping environment.

RV campers will also find the B loop especially beneficial as it offers access to a dump station. This allows for easy disposal of waste, ensuring a hassle-free stay at the campground.

When planning your camping trip to Cades Cove Campground, be prepared to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings while experiencing the convenience of basic restroom facilities.

Camping Rules at Cades Cove Campground

When camping at Cades Cove Campground, it is important to adhere to the following rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone:

  1. Dogs: Dogs are allowed at the campground but must be kept on a leash no longer than 6 feet. This rule ensures the safety and comfort of all campers.
  2. Bikes: Bikes are permitted in the campground, allowing you to explore the beautiful surroundings. However, scooters and skateboards are not allowed for safety reasons.
  3. Food Storage: To prevent any interactions with wildlife, especially bears, it is vital to store all food in a vehicle or bear-proof container. This rule helps to safeguard both campers and the local wildlife.
  4. Campfires: Campfires are allowed at Cades Cove Campground, but only in designated fire rings. This regulation ensures fire safety and helps maintain a clean and protected camping environment.

By following these camping rules, you contribute to the preservation of Cades Cove Campground’s unique natural beauty and create a harmonious camping experience for everyone to enjoy.

“Respect for nature and fellow campers is key when camping at Cades Cove Campground. Following the rules ensures a safe and memorable experience in this beautiful natural setting.” – Cades Cove Ranger

No one wants to encounter unexpected surprises or disruptions while camping. Remember, the rules are in place to protect you, other campers, and the natural environment of Cades Cove Campground. Enjoy your camping adventure, and leave behind only footprints!

Campground Prices and Reservation Information

When planning your camping trip to Cades Cove Campground, it’s important to consider the cost and reservation process. Here’s everything you need to know:

The cost for an individual campsite at Cades Cove Campground is $25 per night, regardless of whether you are camping in an RV or a tent. Each campsite allows up to 6 people, providing ample space for your group or family.

If you’re planning to camp in an RV, please note that RV spaces are limited to one RV or trailer per site. This ensures that all campers have equal access to the facilities and amenities.

To make a reservation at Cades Cove Campground, you can book your campsite up to 6 months in advance. Reservations are highly recommended, especially during the busy summer and fall seasons, as the campground tends to fill up quickly. Securing a reservation in advance guarantees your spot in this popular campground.

Please be aware that cancelations may incur fees, so it’s important to carefully plan your trip and make any necessary changes as early as possible. Additionally, if you prefer a more spontaneous camping experience, there is a first-come-first-serve camping option available during certain months. This allows campers to arrive and secure a campsite without a reservation, subject to availability.

Whether you are planning a weekend getaway or a longer camping trip, be sure to make your reservation early to secure your spot at Cades Cove Campground. Enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park as you embark on your camping adventure.

What Our Campers Say:

“Cades Cove Campground offers affordable rates and a smooth reservation process. We were able to secure a campsite for our family well in advance, allowing us to relax and enjoy the stunning beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains.” – Mary P.

What to Bring When Camping in Cades Cove

When camping in Cades Cove, it is important to come prepared. Ensure you have all the necessary camping supplies for a comfortable and enjoyable experience in the great outdoors.

Essential Camping Gear

  • Tent: A sturdy and weather-resistant tent is essential for camping in Cades Cove. Choose a tent that suits the size of your group and provides adequate shelter.
  • Sleeping Bags: Pack warm sleeping bags to keep you cozy during cool nights in the park. Consider the temperature rating of your sleeping bag to ensure optimal comfort.
  • Layered Clothing: Cades Cove weather can change quickly, so pack layered clothing to adjust to temperature fluctuations. Include warm jackets and waterproof outerwear.
  • Rain Gear: Don’t forget to bring rain gear such as waterproof jackets and pants or ponchos to stay dry during unexpected downpours.
  • Flashlights: Make sure to bring reliable flashlights or headlamps for illuminating your surroundings at night and navigating the campground.
  • First Aid Kit: It’s always wise to have a well-stocked first aid kit on hand for any minor injuries or ailments that may arise during your camping trip.

Recreational Gear

  • Bikes: If you enjoy cycling, consider bringing your own bikes or renting them from the Cades Cove Campground Store. Biking around the loop road is a popular activity in the area.
  • Fishing Gear: Cades Cove offers opportunities for fishing in its streams. Remember to bring your fishing gear and a valid Tennessee fishing license if you plan to cast a line.
  • Bird-Watching Equipment: Cades Cove is home to a variety of bird species, making it a haven for bird-watchers. Bring binoculars and bird identification resources to enhance your experience.


Proper footwear is crucial for exploring the park’s trails and rugged terrain. Consider packing the following:

  • Hiking Boots: Opt for sturdy and water-resistant hiking boots that provide ankle support and traction for traversing the park’s diverse landscapes.
  • Sandals or Water Shoes: Consider bringing sandals or water shoes for wading in streams or cooling off on a hot day.

Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before your trip and pack accordingly. Being prepared with the right camping gear and supplies will ensure a comfortable and enjoyable experience in Cades Cove.

Safety Guidelines for Camping in Cades Cove

Your safety is of utmost importance when camping in Cades Cove. Follow these guidelines to ensure a secure and enjoyable camping experience:

  1. Store your food properly: As Cades Cove is a bear habitat, it is crucial to store food in vehicles or bear-proof containers. This helps to prevent any unwanted encounters with wildlife and ensures the safety of both campers and animals.
  2. Dispose of trash responsibly: Use bear-proof dumpsters to dispose of your trash. Proper waste management helps to maintain the natural environment and minimize interactions with wildlife.
  3. Keep fires within designated areas: Campfires should be limited to designated fire rings. This helps to contain the fire and prevent any accidental spread. Remember to fully extinguish the fire before leaving the area.
  4. Exercise caution with camping equipment: Take care when handling camping equipment, ensuring proper operation and maintenance. This includes setting up tents securely, using cooking equipment safely, and avoiding any potential hazards.
  5. Explore nature responsibly: When exploring the surrounding nature, be mindful of your surroundings. Watch out for uneven terrain and potential hazards. Stay on designated trails and be prepared with appropriate footwear and attire.
  6. Wear helmets while biking: If you plan to ride a bike in Cades Cove, it is highly recommended to wear a helmet for your safety. Protect yourself from potential accidents and ensure an enjoyable biking experience.
  7. Maintain a safe distance from wildlife: While it may be tempting to get close to wildlife for photos or observation, it is important to remember that these animals are wild and unpredictable. Maintain a safe distance and never approach or feed them.

Following these safety guidelines will help ensure a memorable and incident-free camping adventure in Cades Cove.

Activities Near Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove Campground offers a range of exciting activities for campers to enjoy during their stay. Whether you’re an avid hiker, a nature lover, or a history enthusiast, there’s something for everyone near the campground.

Hiking Trails

One of the highlights of camping in Cades Cove is the opportunity to explore the picturesque hiking trails in the area. One popular trail is the Abrams Falls trail, which takes you on a scenic journey to a beautiful waterfall. As you hike through the lush forest, be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife and enjoy the peaceful serenity of nature.


If you prefer to explore the surroundings on two wheels, you can rent bicycles at the campground store. Take a leisurely ride along the loop road, soaking in the stunning views of the valley and mountains. It’s a great way to enjoy the fresh air and get some exercise while immersing yourself in the beauty of Cades Cove.

Horseback Riding

For a unique and unforgettable experience, consider going horseback riding in Cades Cove. During the season, guided horseback rides, hayrides, and carriage rides are available, allowing you to leisurely explore the scenic landscape and learn about the area’s history from knowledgeable guides.


If you’re an angler, don’t forget to bring your fishing gear and a valid Tennessee fishing license. Fishing is permitted in the park’s streams, presenting an excellent opportunity to relax and cast your line while enjoying the tranquil surroundings of Cades Cove.

Historic Buildings

Cades Cove is renowned for its well-preserved historic buildings, which offer a glimpse into the area’s rich history. Explore the pioneer homes, churches, and other structures that date back to the 19th century. It’s a fascinating way to learn about the early settlers of the region and appreciate the architectural and cultural heritage of Cades Cove.

With its diverse range of activities, camping at Cades Cove Campground guarantees an unforgettable experience filled with adventure, natural beauty, and cultural exploration.

Cades Cove Campground

Additional Services at Cades Cove Campground

In addition to its scenic beauty and peaceful camping experience, Cades Cove Campground offers a range of convenient services to enhance your stay. The Cades Cove Campground Store is your one-stop-shop for all your camping needs. You’ll find an array of groceries, camping supplies, firewood, and ice, ensuring you have everything you need for a comfortable and enjoyable trip.

But that’s not all – the campground store also features a seasonal deli where you can satisfy your hunger cravings. Indulge in delicious pizzas, juicy burgers, refreshing ice cream, and mouthwatering sandwiches that are perfect for picnics. Whether you’re looking for a quick snack or a complete meal, the deli at Cades Cove Campground Store has you covered.

If you’re in the mood for some outdoor exploration, why not rent a bike from the campground store? Bike rentals are available, allowing you to pedal your way through the picturesque Cades Cove area. Exploring the scenic loop road and its surroundings on wheels is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area. Please note that bike rentals are in high demand, so it’s best to arrive early to secure your rental.

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