Highlights: historic buildings, wildlife viewing, bicycling
Cades Cove is a lush valley surrounded by mountains and one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. Deer are almost always sighted in the fields, and observations of other wildlife, including bear, Wild Turkey, and fox are possible. Please use pullouts when viewing wildlife and never approach or feed animals.
A wide array of historic buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries is scattered through-out the cove. These include a grist mill, a variety of barns, three churches, and a marvelous collection of log homes and outbuildings.
An 11-mile one-way loop road takes you around the cove. Traffic will be heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round.
A visitor center (open daily), restrooms, and the Cable Mill historic area are located half-way around the loop road.
Numerous trails originate in the cove, including the five-mile roundtrip trail to Abrams Falls and the short Cades Cove Nature Trail. Longer hikes to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top (made famous by the popular song) also begin in the cove.
Several designated backcountry campsites (camping by permit only) are located along trails.
Only bicycle and foot traffic are allowed on the loop road from sunrise until 10:00 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September
Distances to Cades Cove:
from Cherokee — 57 miles
from Gatlinburg — 27 miles
from Townsend — 9 miles