Cades Cove Loop Road

EASY 78 reviews

Cades Cove Loop Road is a 10.1 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Townsend, TN that features a river and is good for all skill levels. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until October.

10.1 miles 1043 feet Loop

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

road biking

scenic driving

trail running

walking

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

blowdown

old growth

no dogs

This road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park runs through a lush valley, see wildlife & historic buildings Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area's trails. 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 until 10:00 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September. Otherwise the road is open to motor vehicles from sunrise until sunset daily, weather permitting.

23 days ago

scenic driving
1 month ago

Very beautiful drive in a beautiful cove, Many Beautiful sights.

1 month ago

Hike it don't drive it.

1 month ago

nature trips
2 months ago

Cades Cove is beautiful. The scenery is amazing and I always see something new whenever I go.

scenic driving
2 months ago

A remote and gorgeous section of GSMNP that reminds you of a bygone time...wonderful views of the valley, lots of wildlife and historic buildings. The ten mile one-way loop road and the area around the visitor center can get congested though. Best to get an early start and/or save for a weekday if possible. Well worth the trip!

road biking
2 months ago

Great for a bike ride. We've driven out by car 3 times, and while it is gorgeous, it's much calmer and enjoyable by bike. Some of the hold are difficult if, like me, you are awful at hills, but just putter up them and you'll be rewarded with a fun downhill.

The views are much easier enjoyed on the bike without the car windows in the way, and much lower stress than following behind some of three cars because most well let you pass.

There are the occasional grumpy cars that want to pass you, only to pull off at the next spot.

Roundtrip on our bikes was about an hour flat, but we didn't turn it into a combo hike-bike trip this time.

road biking
2 months ago

Biking this trail was overall a really enjoyable experience. If you so choose this more enjoyable method keep in mind the following things. It can have a ton of cars and motorcycles on it which you feel obligated to let pass as you'll be moving much slower up some of the very strenuous climbs uphill. There is some pretty steep downhill parts that you'll be moving nearly 30 mph on. If your not cautious and using your breaks to regulate your speed you could end up getting flown out via helicopter as some lady did earlier that same day because of a bad wreck. We did see a black bear and along with many gorgeous views and old churches.

2 months ago

a good loop walk for photography, enjoying the day and access to many other trails.

scenic driving
3 months ago

A really beautiful drive. We stopped and hiked some of the trails and seen lots of deer and turkeys along the way

3 months ago

Went on a Saturday morning before the gates opened for cars. My dog walked with me. They are allowed on leash on Saturdays and I think Wednesday before the gates open for cars. I saw a few dogs in the little trailers behind bikes.

3 months ago

Moderately challenging bike ride with gorgeous views and lots of wildlife (deer, elk, bears, butterflies, you name it).

3 months ago

Love to bike this at sunrise on Saturday mornings

scenic driving
3 months ago

The most beautiful place ever!! W always see wild life especially bear!

scenic driving
3 months ago

Love the history of this area! Really nice way to see a lot of historic buildings and way of life as far back as the 1800's. Several hiking trails off of the loop as well.

scenic driving
4 months ago

Although we did not hike around the loop, we did it by car and it was awesome! so much history! lots of wildlife..I believe the wildlife are all tame..

scenic driving
5 months ago

been doing this for 20 years and never gets old. love that there is so much history

scenic driving
5 months ago

Love this spot. Never gets old. My favorite time is very late in the day. The best however is early in the mornings on Saturdays and Wednesday's on bike.

scenic driving
5 months ago

We drive this loop every time we go to the Smoky Mountains. Last week we saw turkey, 2 bears, and deer.

Next time we want to go early and ride bikes around the loop.

This is something you should do early as possible or right about 8 pm. Whenever the animals are out.

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked full loop. Allow yourself enough time to finish before traffic enters. Beautiful seeing sunrise in Cade's Cove. Lots of opportunity to see wildlife. Beautiful