Cades Cove is a lush valley surrounded by mountains and IS 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. A wide array of historic buildings dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries is scattered throughout 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 halfway 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.

A campground with 159 sites is open year round in Cades Cove. Tents and RVs up to 35 feet can be accommodated in the campground.

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Expert Review of Cades Cove

Active and Adventure Review of Cades Cove

Away Travel Editor: Alistair Wearmouth
editor favorite Editor Favorite
Editor Rating 5.0 out of 5 Recommended for:
Camping,Day Hiking,Road Biking,Trekking and Backpacking
Editor Tips & Helpful Hints
  • The Cades Cove Loop is closed to vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings from dawn until 10a.m., making this the ideal moment to bike the scenic road (or walk a section). These road closures are in effect from early May until early September. Otherwise, this loop gets incredibly congested during the summer and fall, especially at weekends, so take heed!
  • Top picks for hiking trails off the Cades Cove Loop include the hike to the top of 5,441-foot Rocky Top and the trail that runs alongside Forge Creek and leads to the open meadow atop Gregory Bald.

c/o Cades Cove Visitor Center, Cades Cove Loop
Townsend, Tennessee 37882

Visitor Information

Telephone Number: 865-436-1200
The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Away Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.