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.
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.
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.
Great site seeing. Feels like a safari, wildlife on both sides as well as structures from the 1800's
Beautiful views but there were sooo many people even in this cold weather. I would've paid to drive through, paying might keep traffic down.
Was expecting a lot of wildlife, but saw one deer. The drive there was better than the actual trail. Probably wouldn't take time to do it again
Just a drive in your car loop, lots of wildlife and leads to an awesome trail for Abram Falls!
Very beautiful drive in a beautiful cove, Many Beautiful sights.
Hike it don't drive it.
Cades Cove is beautiful. The scenery is amazing and I always see something new whenever I go.
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!