Cades Cove


By the mid-19th century, over 100 families lived in the secluded valley of Cades Cove. Today, several old buildings still stand along a one-way 11-mile loop road. At the western end of the loop, you'll find a visitor center, which is open seasonal hours all year. After looking through some photographic exhibits about Cade Cove's original settlers, walk through the Cable Mill area. Corn is still ground here daily during the summer. The trailhead for the five-mile round trip Abrams Falls hike is close by. You may also walk the Cades Cove nature trail, which focuses on how settlers used native plants. As you take a leisurely bike ride or drive along the loop, don't miss the three churches. Their histories tell fascinating stories about schisms and tensions within this small community. Watch for deer in the meadows as you walk around houses made from hand-hewn logs. Continue back to the eastern end, where you started. You'll find a campground, ranger station, and horse stable. Spring through fall, the stable arranges buggy and hayrides. Cades Cove is accessible only by the Little River and Laurel Creek Roads, though if you're adventurous, you can leave the area via the rough, unpaved Parson Branch and Rich Mountain Roads from mid-March through October. Biking: Most visitors to Cades Cove drive the loop road, which means that cars are often bumper-to-bumper and the trip can take two to four hours. A pleasant alternative is bicycling. Bicycles are allowed on the road at all times, but the best times are Wednesday and Saturday mornings from May through September, when the road is closed to motorized traffic until 10:00 AM. This means that bicyclists and walkers have the road -- and the cove -- to themselves. Single-speed bicycles can be rented at the Cades Cove Campground Store (865-448-9034), located near the entrance, for $4.00 an hour. Fully geared bikes rent for $6 an hour. From June through August, rentals begin at 7:00 AM on Wednesdays and Saturdays and at 9:00 AM all other days. The last rental is at 4:30 PM, although the bicycles may be used until 7:00 PM. During the rest of the year, rentals begin at 9:00 AM daily and the last rental is at 2:30 PM; bicycles must be returned by 5:00 PM. Camping and Other Lodging: The Cades Cove campground offers 161 tent and RV sites and is open year round. For dates from May 15 through October 31, reservations are required and can be made up to five months in advance by calling Biospherics, Inc. (800-365-2267). Fees are $17 per night during the reservation period and $14 per night during the self-registration months. The stay limit is seven days. There are no hookups, but running water, flush toilets, picnic tables, and fire grills are provided. For group site reservations, call Biospherics. Activities include fishing, naturalist programs, and hiking. Services include horse and bicycle rental, a small grocery store, disposal station, and wood for sale.


107 Park Headquarters Rd
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Gatlinburg, TN 37738


35.59291000, -83.84462000
Visit Website
(865) 436-1200

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