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Cades Cove Information Plus LIVE Weather Report and Radar

Popular Places in the ParkCades CoveCades Cove Information Plus LIVE Weather Report and Radar

Cades Cove is one of the most popular places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it’s not hard to see why. This beautiful area has it all: a campground, hiking trails, a scenic drive, wildlife and more. About 5 million people visit Cades Cove each year!

Cades Cove is a valley located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, in Tennessee. It is one of the most popular destinations in the park, known for its beautiful scenery, wildlife, and historical significance. The valley was once home to a small community of settlers, and today, visitors can see preserved log cabins, barns, and other structures that date back to the 19th century.

Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It has a rich history, dating back to the Cherokee Indians who hunted here for hundreds of years, and later to the European settlers who built farms, churches, mills and cabins in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of these historic buildings are still preserved along the 11-mile loop road that circles the cove, and you can learn more about them by picking up a self-guiding tour booklet at the entrance or visiting the visitor center at the Cable Mill area.

Article Contents

Introduction to Cades Cove

Cades Cove offers a variety of recreational activities, including hiking, picnicking, and wildlife viewing. The valley is home to a variety of animals, including white-tailed deer, elk, fox, black bears, and wild turkeys. Visitors can also see historic buildings, including a working grist mill, a smokehouse, and a number of churches.

Cable Grist Mill in Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Cable Grist Mill in Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove is also a popular spot for cycling and auto-touring, it offers an 11-mile one-way loop road that is closed to motor vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10 am, allowing visitors to bike, walk or run the loop with fewer cars.

Cades Cove is also a great place to watch the sunset, many visitors go there to watch the sunset, it’s a beautiful sight with the sun setting behind the mountains, this is a perfect spot to take photos and it’s a great opportunity to see the park’s wildlife in a peaceful and quiet setting.

Cades Cove History

Cades Cove is an area in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that was settled in the 18th century by European pioneers. The first permanent settlers arrived in the cove in 1818 and by the 1830s, the cove had a population of around 700 people. These settlers were primarily farmers, who cleared the land for crops and built homes and other structures from the abundant natural resources in the area.

Cades Cove is rich in history. When you tour the cove, you’ll get to see some of the homesteads and historic buildings that still stand today. The buildings include 3 historic churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses and more that have been restored.

Cades Cove Sunrise

The settlers in Cades Cove primarily grew corn, wheat, and oats, but also raised cattle, hogs, and sheep. They also hunted in the surrounding woods for deer, bear, turkey and other game, and fished in nearby streams. The cove’s residents also built a number of churches and schools, and created a strong sense of community.

Life in Cades Cove was not easy, the settlers had to deal with harsh winters, poor soil, and isolation. The cove was isolated from the outside world, and the only way in and out was by foot or horseback. The settlers were also affected by the Civil War, which caused a decline in the population and economy.

By the early 20th century, most of the residents had left the cove and moved to nearby towns. The land was then purchased by the government in the 1930s and became part of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Today, visitors can see preserved log cabins, barns, and other structures that date back to the 19th century and learn about the history of the settlers who once called Cades Cove home.

When is the best time to visit Cades Cove?

Cades Cove is open year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you want to see and do. If you want to avoid the crowds and traffic, try visiting early in the morning or late in the afternoon, especially on weekdays. If you want to enjoy the fall colors, plan your trip between mid-October and early November, when the leaves turn into a stunning display of reds, oranges and yellows. If you want to see wildflowers, spring is the ideal season, when the valley is carpeted with colorful blooms. And if you want to experience a winter wonderland, visit after a snowfall, when the cove becomes a serene and peaceful landscape.

Touring Cades Cove

The Cades Cove Loop Road is an 11-mile, one-way loop that allows drivers to take in the sights from the comfort of their cars. The road has several pull-offs and parking areas along the way where you can stop, take pictures and get out to explore. There are gorgeous views, historic structures, wildlife and more! Cade Cove is one of the best places to spot black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and you can also see white-tailed deer, wild turkeys and coyotes, among other wildlife.

Here are some of the top things to see along the Cades Cove Loop:

  • John Oliver Cabin
  • Primitive Baptist Church
  • Methodist Church
  • Missionary Baptist Church
  • Elijah Oliver Place
  • Cades Cove Visitor Center
  • John P. Cable Mill
  • Henry Whitehead Place
  • Dan Lawson Place
  • Tipton Place
  • Carter Shields Cabin

How can I see wildlife in Cades Cove?

Cades Cove offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen grazing in the fields or crossing the road. Black bears are also common, especially in summer and fall, when they feed on berries, nuts and acorns. You may also spot coyotes, turkeys, raccoons, skunks and other animals as they roam around the cove.

Baby Black Bear in Cades Cove

To increase your chances of seeing wildlife, follow these tips:

  • Be patient and observant. Wildlife may not appear right away or may be hidden by vegetation or terrain. Use binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to scan the area and look for movement or signs of animals.
  • Be respectful and safe. Do not approach, feed or harass any wildlife. Keep a safe distance of at least 50 yards from bears and 25 yards from other animals. Use pullouts when stopping to watch wildlife and do not block traffic or other visitors. Follow park rules and regulations regarding wildlife viewing.
  • Be aware of seasonal patterns. Different animals may be more active or visible at different times of the year or day. For example, bears tend to be more active in early morning or late evening hours, while deer may be more visible at dusk or dawn. Check with park rangers or visitor center staff for current information on wildlife activity.

Where are the best places to view wildlife in Cades Cove?

While you may encounter wildlife anywhere in Cades Cove, some areas are known to be more frequented by certain animals than others. Here are some of the best places to look for wildlife in Cades Cove:

  • Sparks Lane: This short road connects the loop road near the entrance and exit of Cades Cove and offers a scenic view of the valley and mountains. It is also a good place to see deer, especially in early morning or late afternoon.
  • Hyatt Lane: This road cuts across the loop road near the middle of Cades Cove and provides access to some open fields and wooded areas. It is a popular spot for bear sightings, especially in summer and fall when they feed on berries along the road.
  • Abrams Falls Trailhead: This trail leads to a beautiful waterfall about 2.5 miles from the loop road. Along the way, you may see turkeys, coyotes or even elk, which have been reintroduced to the park in recent years.
  • Cable Mill Area: This area features a working gristmill, a visitor center, a campground store and several historic buildings. It is also a good place to see raccoons, skunks and other small mammals that may be attracted by human food or garbage. Remember to store your food properly and do not feed any wildlife.
Hyatt Lane Cades Cove

Cades Cove is a must-see destination for anyone who loves nature and wildlife. Whether you drive, bike or hike around the cove, you will be amazed by the variety and abundance of animals that live here. Just remember to respect their space and enjoy their presence from a distance.

How to See Black Bears in Cades Cove: Tips and Tricks

Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for a good reason. This scenic valley is not only rich in history and culture, but also in wildlife. Among the many animals that call Cades Cove home, the black bear is perhaps the most iconic and sought-after by visitors. But how can you see these majestic creatures in their natural environment? And when is the best time to go? Here are some tips and tricks to help you plan your trip and enjoy the thrill of spotting black bears in Cades Cove.

What are black bears?

Black bears are the only species of bear found in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. They are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals, and they have a varied diet that includes berries, nuts, acorns, insects, fish, deer and even human garbage. They can weigh up to 600 pounds and stand up to 6 feet tall when on their hind legs. They have a thick fur coat that can range from black to brown to cinnamon in color, and some may have a white patch on their chest.

Black bears are intelligent, curious and adaptable animals that can live up to 30 years in the wild. They are mostly solitary, except for females with cubs or during mating season. They are not true hibernators, but they do enter a state of dormancy during winter, when they retreat to their dens and rely on their stored fat for energy. Females give birth to one to four cubs in January or February, and nurse them until they are about 18 months old.

Black bears are generally shy and avoid humans, but they can become aggressive or dangerous if they feel threatened or provoked. They may also become habituated to human food or garbage, which can lead to conflicts and injuries. Therefore, it is important to respect their space and follow park rules and regulations regarding wildlife viewing.

Black Bears in Cades Cove

Where can you see black bears in Cades Cove?

Black bears can be found throughout the park, but they are easiest to spot in open areas such as Cades Cove and Cataloochee Valley. Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains that offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. It has an 11-mile loop road that circles the cove, allowing visitors to drive, bike or hike around the valley and enjoy the scenery and historic buildings.

Some of the best places to look for black bears in Cades Cove are:

  • Sparks Lane: This short road connects the loop road near the entrance and exit of Cades Cove and offers a scenic view of the valley and mountains. It is also a good place to see deer, especially in early morning or late afternoon.
  • Hyatt Lane: This road cuts across the loop road near the middle of Cades Cove and provides access to some open fields and wooded areas. It is a popular spot for bear sightings, especially in summer and fall when they feed on berries along the road.
  • Abrams Falls Trailhead: This trail leads to a beautiful waterfall about 2.5 miles from the loop road. Along the way, you may see turkeys, coyotes or even elk, which have been reintroduced to the park in recent years.
  • Cable Mill Area: This area features a working gristmill, a visitor center, a campground store and several historic buildings. It is also a good place to see raccoons, skunks and other small mammals that may be attracted by human food or garbage. Remember to store your food properly and do not feed any wildlife.

When is the best time to see black bears in Cades Cove?

Black bears can be seen year-round in Cades Cove, but there are some seasonal patterns that may affect their activity and visibility. Here are some tips on when to go depending on what you want to see:

  • Spring: This is the time when bears emerge from their winter dens and start looking for food. You may see them foraging on grasses, flowers and insects in the fields or climbing trees for buds and blossoms. You may also see females with cubs that were born during winter.
  • Summer: This is the peak season for bear activity and sightings in Cades Cove. Bears are busy eating berries, nuts and acorns that are abundant in the valley. You may see them along roadsides or trails where berry bushes grow or near streams where they fish for trout.
  • Fall: This is the time when bears prepare for winter by eating as much as they can to build up their fat reserves. You may see them raiding walnut trees or oak trees for nuts or acorns. You may also see males roaming around looking for mates during mating season.
  • Winter: This is the time when bears enter their dormant state and retreat to their dens. You may see them less often or not at all, depending on the weather and food availability. You may see some tracks or signs of their presence, such as claw marks on trees or scat.

In addition to the seasons, the time of day also matters when it comes to seeing black bears in Cades Cove. Bears tend to be more active in early morning or late evening hours, when the temperature is cooler and the light is softer. These are also the best times to avoid the crowds and traffic that can be heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round.

How can you see black bears safely and responsibly in Cades Cove?

Seeing black bears in Cades Cove can be an exciting and memorable experience, but it also comes with some responsibilities and precautions. Here are some dos and don’ts to follow when you encounter black bears in Cades Cove:

  • Do keep a safe distance of at least 50 yards from bears and 25 yards from other wildlife. Use binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to get a closer look.
  • Do not approach, feed or harass any wildlife. This can alter their natural behavior, make them dependent on human food or garbage, or provoke them to attack.
  • Do use pullouts when stopping to watch wildlife and do not block traffic or other visitors. Be courteous and respectful of others who want to enjoy the same experience.
  • Do not leave any food or garbage unattended in your vehicle, picnic area, campground or anywhere else. Store your food properly in bear-proof containers or lockers. Dispose of your garbage in bear-proof trash cans or dumpsters.
  • Do report any bear sightings or incidents to park rangers or visitor center staff. This can help them monitor the bear population and activity and prevent any potential conflicts or problems.

Cades Cove is a wonderful place to see black bears in their natural environment, but it also requires some respect and care from visitors. By following these tips and tricks, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip and help protect these amazing animals for future generations. Happy bear watching!

Cades Cove Waterfalls: A Guide to the Best Hikes and Views

Cades Cove is one of the most visited areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and for good reasons. This scenic valley offers stunning views of the mountains, historic buildings, wildlife and, of course, a waterfall. There is one main waterfall that you can hike to from Cades Cove: Abrams Falls. Abrams Falls is beautiful and worth the effort, but it has have different features and challenges. Here is a guide to help you plan your trip and enjoy the best hikes and views of Cades Cove waterfalls.

Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls is named after a Cherokee chief whose village was located downstream from the falls. It is a 20-foot high waterfall that creates a long, deep pool at its base. The waterfall is impressive not for its height, but for the volume of water that flows over it.

The hike to Abrams Falls is about 5 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate in difficulty. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete. The trail follows Abrams Creek for most of the way, crossing it several times over log bridges. The trail also passes through pine-oak forest, rhododendron thickets and open fields.

Abrams Falls Cades Cove

The trailhead is located at stop #10 on the Cades Cove Loop Road. There is a large parking area and restrooms available. You can pick up a self-guiding tour booklet at the entrance for more information about the trail and the cove.

Some tips for hiking to Abrams Falls are:

  • Start early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the crowds and traffic on the loop road.
  • Bring plenty of water and snacks, as there are no facilities along the trail.
  • Wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for some rocky and muddy sections.
  • Do not swim or wade in the pool or near the falls, as it can be dangerous due to strong currents and slippery rocks.
  • Keep a safe distance from the falls and do not climb on top of them, as rocks can fall unexpectedly.
  • Respect the wildlife and do not feed or approach any animals.

Cades Cove Bathrooms: Where to Find Them and What to Expect

Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, attracting millions of visitors every year. Whether you are driving the scenic loop road, hiking the trails, exploring the historic buildings, or camping in the campground, you may wonder where to find bathrooms in Cades Cove and what to expect from them. Here is a guide to help you plan your trip and enjoy your visit to Cades Cove without any bathroom-related worries.

Bathrooms on the Cades Cove Loop Road

The Cades Cove Loop Road is an 11-mile one-way road that circles the valley and offers stunning views of the mountains, wildlife, and historic sites. There are several pullouts and parking areas along the road where you can stop and enjoy the scenery or take a short walk. However, there are no bathrooms on the loop road itself, except for one at the Cades Cove Visitor Center.

The Cades Cove Visitor Center is located about halfway through the loop road, near the Cable Mill area. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Christmas Day. The visitor center has a large parking lot, a bookstore, a museum, and restrooms. These are the only restrooms on the loop road, so don’t pass them if you need to go. The restrooms are clean and have flushing toilets, sinks with cold water, and a single power outlet. They are also ADA accessible.

The next closest bathrooms are at the Cades Cove Picnic Area, which is located just outside the entrance to the loop road. The picnic area has 81 picnic sites with grills and tables, as well as restrooms with flushing toilets and cold water sinks. The picnic area is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Bathrooms on the Cades Cove Trails

There are no bathrooms on any of the trails in Cades Cove, so you will need to plan ahead and use the facilities at the visitor center or picnic area before you start your hike. If you need to relieve yourself while on the trail, you will need to follow some basic rules of etiquette and safety:

  • Stay at least 200 feet away from any water source, trail, or campsite.
  • Dig a small hole about 6 inches deep and cover it with soil and leaves after use.
  • Pack out any toilet paper or wipes in a ziplock bag and dispose of it properly in a trash can.
  • Do not leave any feminine hygiene products behind, as they can attract wildlife or cause environmental damage.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer after use.

Bathrooms at the Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove Campground is one of the largest and most popular campgrounds in the park, offering 159 campsites for tents and RVs up to 40 feet long. The campground is open year-round, but reservations are required from early April through late October. The campground has four loops: A, B, C, and D. Loops A and B are generator-friendly during certain hours, while loops C and D are generator-free.

Each loop has a restroom building that is open 24 hours a day. The restrooms have flushing toilets, cold water sinks, and a single power outlet. They are also ADA accessible and have ADA-accessible paths to them. The restrooms are cleaned daily by park staff.

However, there are no showers at the campground, so you will need to bring your own water or use wipes for personal hygiene. There are also no laundry facilities or dump stations at the campground, so you will need to use those at nearby towns or other campgrounds.

Some tips for using the bathrooms at the campground are:

  • Bring your own soap, toilet paper, towels, and toiletries, as they are not provided by the park.
  • Store your food and garbage properly in bear-proof containers or lockers, as bears and other animals may be attracted by them.
  • Do not leave any items unattended in the restrooms or outside your campsite, as they may be stolen or damaged by wildlife or other visitors.
  • Be courteous and respectful of other campers and limit your use of water and electricity.
  • Report any problems or issues with the restrooms to park rangers or campground hosts.

Cades Cove Map

Hiking in Cades Cove

Cades Cove is home to some of the best hikes in the Smoky Mountains. One of the most popular trails in the Abrams Falls Trail. This 5-mile round-trip hike features a gorgeous 20-foot waterfall. For what the waterfall lacks in height, it makes up for in volume. The water rushes over the falls and collects in a deep pool at its base.

Other hikes that begin in Cades Cove are Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top.

Cades Cove Visitor Center

cades cove visitor center

Located about halfway around the Cades Cove Loop Road, you’ll find the Cades Cove Visitor Center. The visitor center is open daily, with the exception of Christmas, and includes indoor and outdoor exhibits about the Smoky Mountains, the John P. Cable Mill, a bookstore and shop, and restrooms.

The Cades Cove Visitor Center hours are as follows:

January: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
February: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
April – August: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
September – October: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
November: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
December: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cades Cove Gift Shops and Camp Store: What to Buy and Where to Find Them

Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering stunning views of the mountains, wildlife, historic sites, and waterfalls. Whether you are driving the loop road, hiking the trails, or camping in the campground, you may want to buy some souvenirs, snacks, or supplies to make your visit more enjoyable. Here is a guide to help you find the best gift shops and camp store in Cades Cove and what to buy from them.

Cades Cove Trading Company

Cades Cove Trading Company is located in the Cades Cove Campground, near the entrance to the loop road. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Christmas Day. It offers a variety of products and services, such as:

  • Gift shop: You can find a wide selection of souvenirs, such as T-shirts, hats, mugs, magnets, stickers, postcards, books, maps, and more. You can also buy local products, such as honey, jams, candles, and crafts.
  • Convenience and camping supplies: You can buy essentials, such as snacks, drinks, ice cream, ice, firewood, charcoal, propane, batteries, toiletries, and more. You can also rent or buy camping gear, such as tents, sleeping bags, chairs, lanterns, and more.
  • Cafe / Deli: You can enjoy a variety of food and beverages, such as sandwiches, salads, burgers, hot dogs, pizza, coffee, tea, soda, and more. You can also order breakfast items in the morning or picnic items to go.
  • Bicycle rentals: You can rent a bicycle for $7.50 per hour or $20 per day and explore the loop road or the trails in Cades Cove. The bicycle rentals include helmets and locks. You can also rent a tandem bike or a child trailer for an extra fee.
  • Vending machines: You can access 24-hour vending machines that offer snacks and drinks.

Cades Cove Visitor Center

Cades Cove Visitor Center is located about halfway through the loop road, near the Cable Mill area. It is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Christmas Day. It offers a variety of products and services, such as:

  • Bookstore: You can find a wide selection of books and publications about the history, culture, nature, and wildlife of Cades Cove and the park. You can also buy maps, guides, DVDs, CDs, posters, and more.
  • Museum: You can learn more about the history and heritage of Cades Cove through exhibits and displays that feature artifacts, photographs, and stories of the people who lived here.
  • Restrooms: You can use the only restrooms on the loop road that have flushing toilets and sinks with cold water.

Other Gift Shops Near Cades Cove

If you are looking for more gift shops near Cades Cove, you can visit some of the nearby towns or attractions that offer unique and local products. Some of them are:

  • Townsend: Townsend is a small town that is known as the “Peaceful Side of the Smokies”. It has several gift shops that sell arts and crafts, antiques, quilts, pottery, jewelry, and more. Some of them are Apple Valley Country Store & Cafe (7138 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy), Nawger Nob (7321 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy), Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop (7645 E Lamar Alexander Pkwy), The Lily Barn (1116 Carr’s Creek Rd), and Dogwood Mall (8455 State Hwy 73).
  • Gatlinburg: Gatlinburg is a popular tourist town that is known as the “Gateway to the Smokies”. It has many gift shops that sell souvenirs,
    clothing, candy, moonshine, leather goods, knives, and more.
    Some of them are The Village Shops (634 Parkway), The Old Mill Square (175 Old Mill Ave), Ole Smoky Moonshine (903 Parkway), Smoky Mountain Knife Works (2320 Winfield Dunn Pkwy), and The Leather Works (716 Parkway).

Cades Cove Loop Road: A Guide to Bicycling or Walking on Vehicle-Free Wednesdays

Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, offering stunning views of the mountains, wildlife, historic sites, and waterfalls. One of the best ways to experience this scenic valley is by bicycling or walking on the Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11-mile one-way road that circles the cove. And the best time to do it is on Wednesdays from May 3rd to September 27, 2023, when the road is closed to vehicles and open only to pedestrians and cyclists. Here is a guide to help you plan your trip and enjoy your ride or walk on Cades Cove Loop Road on vehicle-free Wednesdays.

Why go bicycling or walking on Cades Cove Loop Road?

Bicycling or walking on Cades Cove Loop Road is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Cades Cove at your own pace. You can stop and admire the views, take photos, watch wildlife, explore historic buildings, or hike to waterfalls along the way. You can also avoid the traffic and noise that can be heavy on other days, especially on weekends and holidays. You can experience a more peaceful and relaxing atmosphere, as well as a safer and more comfortable ride or walk.

How to prepare for bicycling or walking on Cades Cove Loop Road?

Before you go bicycling or walking on Cades Cove Loop Road, you will need to prepare some things to make your trip more enjoyable and successful. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Choose your route: The Cades Cove Loop Road is 11 miles long, but you don’t have to do the whole loop if you don’t want to or can’t. You can choose a shorter route by taking one of the two gravel roads that cut across the loop: Sparks Lane (4 miles roundtrip) or Hyatt Lane (8 miles roundtrip). You can also combine them for a 10-mile loop. These roads are in good condition and safe for biking or walking.
  • Choose your time: The Cades Cove Loop Road is open to pedestrians and cyclists from sunrise to sunset on Wednesdays from May 4 to September 28, 2022. However, you don’t have to go early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the crowds. There is plenty of space for everyone, and you can enjoy the different light and temperature throughout the day. Just make sure you finish your ride or walk before dark, as there are no lights on the road.
  • Choose your gear: If you have your own bike, you can bring it with you and park your vehicle at the entrance of the loop road. If you don’t have a bike, you can rent one from Cades Cove Trading Company, located in the Cades Cove Campground near the entrance of the loop road. They offer a variety of bikes for adults and children, as well as helmets, locks, child trailers, and tandem bikes. The rental fee is $7.50 per hour or $20 per day. You can also buy snacks, drinks, ice cream, souvenirs, camping supplies, and more from their gift shop, convenience store, or cafe.
  • Pack your essentials: Whether you are biking or walking, you will need to bring some essentials with you, such as water, snacks, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, first aid kit, map, camera, binoculars, etc. You will also need a valid parking tag if you park your vehicle anywhere within park boundaries. You can get one online or at any park visitor center for $25 per year or $14 per week.
  • Follow the rules: Bicycling or walking on Cades Cove Loop Road is a fun and rewarding activity, but it also requires some respect and responsibility. You will need to follow some rules to ensure your safety and that of others, as well as to protect the natural and cultural resources of Cades Cove. Some of these rules are:
  • Stay on the road or designated trails and do not venture off into fields or woods.
  • Keep a safe distance from wildlife and do not feed or approach them.
  • Do not climb on or behind waterfalls or historic buildings.
  • Do not collect any plants, rocks, artifacts, or other natural or cultural objects.
  • Dispose of your trash properly in trash cans or dumpsters.
  • Wear a helmet when riding a bike (required by law for children under 16).
  • Ride single file on the right side of the road and pass on the left with caution.
  • Walk facing traffic on the left side of the road.
  • Yield to horses and carriages when they are present.

What to see and do on Cades Cove Loop Road?

Bicycling or walking on Cades Cove Loop Road is not only a physical activity, but also a cultural and educational one. There are many things to see and do along the way, such as:

  • Wildlife viewing: Cades Cove is one of the best places to see wildlife in the park, such as white-tailed deer, black bears, turkeys, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, and more. You can use binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens to get a closer look, but do not approach or disturb any animals. The best times to see wildlife are early morning or late evening, when they are more active and visible.
  • Historic sites: Cades Cove has a rich history that dates back to the Cherokee Indians who hunted here for hundreds of years, and later to the European settlers who built farms, churches, mills, and cabins in the 18th and 19th centuries. Many of these historic buildings are still preserved along the loop road, and you can learn more about them by picking up a self-guiding tour booklet at the entrance or visiting the visitor center at the Cable Mill area. Some of the most notable sites are John Oliver Cabin, Primitive Baptist Church, Cades Cove Methodist Church, Elijah Oliver Place, Henry Whitehead Place, Dan Lawson Place, Tipton Place, Carter Shields Cabin, and Cable Mill.
  • Waterfalls: Cades Cove has two main waterfalls that you can hike to from the loop road: Abrams Falls and Laurel Falls. Both are beautiful and worth the effort, but they have different features and challenges. Abrams Falls is a 20-foot high waterfall that creates a long, deep pool at its base. The hike to Abrams Falls is about 5 miles roundtrip and is considered moderate in difficulty. The trailhead is located at stop #10 on the loop road. Laurel Falls is an 80-foot high waterfall that consists of an upper and lower section, separated by a walkway that crosses over the stream. The hike to Laurel Falls is about 2.6 miles roundtrip and is considered easy in difficulty. The trailhead is located on Little River Road, about 3.5 miles west of Sugarlands Visitor Center.

Bicycling or walking on Cades Cove Loop Road on vehicle-free Wednesdays is a unique and enjoyable way to explore this spectacular Smoky Mountain valley. By following this guide, you can have a fun and memorable trip that you will cherish for years to come. Happy riding or walking!

Cades Cove Hours

sunset in Cades Cove

Cades Cove is open daily from 8 a.m. until sunset.

Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove Campground has 159 sites that allow tents and RVs up to 35 feet. It’s open year round.

Cades Cove Riding Stables

Cades Cove Riding Stables is located near the entrance of the Cades Cove Loop Road. Riders of any skill level can enjoy horseback riding in Cades Cove. The guided horseback rides will take you past mountain streams, scenic views and more. The stables also offer guided carriage rides throughout the cove.

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