Cades Cove Loop Road

EASY 125 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.

scenic driving
10 days ago

13 days ago

scenic driving
13 days ago

25 days ago

scenic driving
28 days ago

My fiancé and I arrived at Cades Cove around 8:15 AM on Saturday morning. When we got there, there was already a rather large line. The path is a great theory, but it was so unbearably overcrowded that it made it harder to enjoy. Many vehicles kept pulling off in hazardous positions to take photos. We ended up actually seeing three black bear, which was pretty incredible. Very congested; it took us over three hours to complete (with the usual amount of stops).

road biking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

2 months ago

Saw a couple of black bear. The views are breathtaking at some spots.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
2 months ago

scenic driving
2 months ago

Beautiful drive. The scenery is beautiful. Lots of wildlife - saw a bear up in a tree. The only bad part was the traffic. Ugh. Made the drive not nearly as pleasant as it could be.

mountain biking
3 months ago

3 months ago

3 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

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

4 months ago

First time seeing bears so up-close!

4 months 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.

4 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

5 months ago

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