Cades Cove Loop Road

EASY 113 reviews

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

DISTANCE
10.1 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1043 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

kid friendly

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

mountain biking

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.

mountain biking
2 days ago

7 days ago

17 days ago

hiking
30 days ago

Beautiful!! We saw several deer and a black bear. Loved it! ❤️

1 month ago

First time seeing bears so up-close!

1 month ago

My wife and I have now walked the loop twice since June 2nd. The loop is moderate in certain areas but is an amazing different perspective than even biking it. Next time will be at night on with a full moon.

2 months ago

I biked this loop this morning with a rented bike. get there very early if you need to do that. they sell out. the early morning is the best time to see the mist on the mountains and see the wildlife

2 months ago

I biked it a few years ago. Arrive early and on time. Great ride even with the clouds and mist.

2 months ago

We biked this with our 7 and 9 year old. Great experience.

road biking
2 months ago

scenic driving
2 months ago

Cades Cove is so worth the trip from Gatlinburg Tn. It is about a 1 hour drive one way. Don't let the time scare you off, it was well worth the trip. We saw 2 mama black bears, and 7 cubs. Several deer, a lot of turkeys. There are a lot of lay overs if you want to stop and look at the mountains, fields, historic sites and old time cabins. There is also a small welcome center about mile 6 of the loop. I will be doing this drive again, but will plan on walking some of the many trails. Enjoy it.

scenic driving
3 months ago

nature trips
3 months ago

nature trips
3 months ago

We've lived in East Tennessee for about 15 years and we've driven the loop many times (every time we had out of state visitors). We see wildlife almost every visit: deer and turkeys and usually a bear or two (or more if it's springtime and there's babies). We've also biked it a couple of times and it's an easy ride. Finally, yesterday we made the leap and walked the loop! We started at the exit so we were walking againt the vehicle trafgic. Bear in mind that we're a couple of middle-aged women with some health issues, so we took our sweet time and enjoyed the sights; it took us six hours, but we saw a mama bear teaching her triplet cubs to climb, as well as a doe with her two half-grown fawns (who walked right past us when we stopped to eat) And we saw the herd of horses from the riding stable galloping joyously out to pasture for the evening. Definitely a day to remember! We now believe walking the loop is the best way to enjoy Cades Cove.

road biking
3 months ago

We biked this road early on a morning when no cars were allowed. It was raining but it was still absolutely beautiful. An easy going ride with many stops along the way.

3 months ago

3 months ago

4 months ago

love it

4 months ago

road biking
4 months ago

We biked this lovely route two days ago. It is definitely up and down in parts but not too difficult. Peddling through this loop allowed us to see a large woodpecker near the road and a wild turkey. The weather turned cloudy, and it rained pretty steady on the whole way back to our car; it was still amazing ride.