Sunsetting in a misty Cades Cove, Tennessee

If you’re looking for an exhilarating experience in the Smoky Mountains, look no further than Cades Cove. Some say it renews the soul just to pull off to the side of the road and bask in the beauty of the Smokies.

Cades Cove Hills in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With a plethora of hiking trails, motorways, and historic spots—Cades Cove is the ultimate destination for the adventurer in all of us. And of course, it offers some pretty incredible photo-ops.

An eleven-mile loop surrounds the cove and is the perfect route if you’re planning to see it all. History buffs can navigate through eighteenth-century churches, grist mills, and many other structures that will bring you back in time.  For wildlife enthusiasts, it’s not uncommon to spot black bears, coyotes, and white-tailed deer on your excursion around the cove.

Fox spies on deer in Cades Cove
Wildlife in Cades Cove

If you’re looking for a hike, be sure to check out some of the shorter hikes, such as the 5-mile round trip to Abrams Falls or the Cades Cove Nature Trail. In the mood for something more strenuous? Try the Thunderhead Mountain or the Rocky Top hiking trails, which will certainly earn you a biscuit or two upon completion.

John Oliver Cabin Cades Cove, Tennessee
John and Lucretia Oliver’s cabin

Did you know one of the oldest structures in Cades Cove is John and Lucretia Oliver’s cabin? The Olivers settled in Cades Cove around 1818. When the land was to be sold to – and preserved by – the National Park, the Oliver family fought against the decision in court. Although the Oliver family eventually lost the battle to stay in their home, there was some good to come from preserving this land. We are lucky to have such an incredible piece of history right in our backyard in the Smoky Mountains.

Ready to experience Cades Cove? Add it to your itinerary the next time you visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. You will not regret it! Keep in mind, cyclists and hikers have exclusive access to the Cades Cove Loop until 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from early May-September. Otherwise, the loop is open for motorists year-round and is ready for you to explore every inch of its beauty.

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About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller is a native Tennessean who currently resides in Asheville, North Carolina. She loves spending time in the great outdoors, such as camping, hiking, and mountain biking. She also enjoys exploring all that the Smoky Mountains have to offer.

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