If you love to explore the great outdoors, then you will love Cades Cove! It is one of the best places to enjoy all that the smokies has to offer with a rich, cultural history as well as some of the greatest places to see wildlife, go for a hike and explore history. Below, we highlight six favorite reasons why people love to explore nearby Cades Cove when visiting the Smoky Mountains.
Cades Cove Loop Road
An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles Cades Cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace, with many places to pull over and take in the beaut. Cades Cove even offers special times when vehicles are not allowed, which provides the most incredible opportunity to ride bikes around the loop and truly see and hear the beauty and peace of this special place. It’s a wonderful way to spend a day in the Smokies for the whole family!
The Abundant Wildlife
Cades Cove is filled with wildlife that are frequently spotted roaming the open valleys and hidden trails. White-tailed deer, bear, turkey, and more share this beautiful landscape. Just remember that, while beautiful & peaceful, these are wild animals, so be sure to remain a safe distance away. If you suddenly see cars stopping and people getting out, then get your camera ready as something special has likely been spotted!
For the history buff inside you, Cades Cove offers so much to see. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully preserved and restored 18th and 19th century structures. The three primitive churches were built by hand and offer a glimpse into the faith and architecture of the early settlers in the Smoky Mountains.
To truly get a sense of what life was like in the 1800’s, be sure to explore one of the historic cabins throughout Cades Cove! Imagine what life would have been like to live in one of these “homes” without water, electricity, heat, and other modern amenities. It is an incredible chance to get a glimpse into the early history of Smoky Mountain life.
Another unique, historical site offered in Cades Cove are the cantilever barns. These 19th century barns are rare and feature an overhang for an upper loft. The lofts were used for storage of hay or other materials and the lower crib areas were where livestock was kept.This design allowed animals, which were normally outside, to stand underneath the overhang in order to get out of the sun or rain. The farm animals resting under the eaves in Cades Cove would have included pigs, hogs, chickens, goats and, in wintertime, cattle.
And finally, what would a visit to Cades Cove be without taking in a gorgeous hike? Cades Cove offers a variety of trails, but the most popular is a five-mile roundtrip trail to Abrams Falls. This moderately difficult hike features a winding path through thick forest, rhododendrons, and hemlock opening up to a gorgeous waterfall offering the opportunity to take a dip after enjoying one of the most beautiful hikes in the Smokies!
Plan Your Visit to Cades Cove
Ready to plan your visit to Cades Cove? Be sure to check out our article on why spring is one of the best times to visit the Smoky Mountains! We offer a variety of rooms that offer the perfect place to relax before and after you spend a day in Cades Cove.