Welcome to Cades Cove

Find out everything you need to know before you make your way to the premier Great Smokies’ destination


Welcome to the most comprehensive Cades Cove site on the web. Here you will find everything you need to know about the Cades Cove and all of the amenities. Thanks so much for stopping by, and we hope that your Cades Cove trip is the best it can be.

Cades Cove is perhaps the most majestic area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  A deep, lush valley, it affords visitors some of the best wildlife viewing anywhere in the park.  Black Bears, White-tailed deer, coyotes, turkeys, raccoons, skunks, and many more animals call this area home.  The area is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of the Smokies and as a result, offers breathtaking views stretching across the vast open fields.

The Cherokee Indians used the area as a hunting ground for hundreds of years, but there are no signs that the cove ever served as a major settlement for the indigenous tribe. The Europeans first begin settling between 1818 and 1821.  BY the year 1830, the population had grown to a hardy 271.  As a result, Cades Cove enjoys a collections of historical buildings that are not matched anywhere in the GSM National Park.  An 11 mile loop runs the perimeter of the cove allowing bicyclist, walkers and motorists to enjoy the entire area as they make their way around the cove.

So Much to See and Do

Along the loop, there are three historic churches, a active grist mill, several historic barns, log homes, and other structures. 

Most of the buildings have undergone restoration, maintaining their historic features from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. There are guide books available at the entrance road that provide in-depth details about the buildings and those that built them.

Visitors should expect to spend at least two to four hours touring Cades Cove, even longer you intend to walk the numerous trails along the way.  Please keep in mind that during the heavier tourist seasons the traffic can swell, so be sure to use the pullouts whenever you stop to view the gorgeous views or wildlife.  The cove is a wonderful place, and your courtesy makes it even better.

The Visitors’ Center

There is a visitors’ center that is opened daily along with restrooms, and the Cable Mill historic area (located about half way through the loop).  Visitors will have ample opportunity to hike as trails run through Cades Cove and include a five mile (2.5 miles each way) to Abrams Falls. Additionally there is the Cades Cove Nature Trail for those who want a beautiful hike that is a bit shorter.  Additionally, longer hikes to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top begins in Cades Cove.

For those who are a bit more serious about hiking, there are several designated backcountry campsites located along the trails (Permits required).

The loop is closed to all traffic expect bicycle and pedestrians until 10:00 each Saturday and Wednesday from early May until the later part of September to allow visitors an even more personal and unimpeded experience.  Otherwise, the loop road is open to motor vehicles from sunrise until sunset daily weather permitting. Horseback riding in Cades Cove area is offered through the Anthony Creek horse camp.  They are located very nearby offering backcountry rides to those who are interested.  Reservation are highly recommended.

Cades Cove also boasts a 159 site campground that is open year round.  Campsites for tents and RVs (up to 35 feet) are available in the campground.  To reserve a site call (877) 477-6777.

Other Things To Do