- The loop road has one entrance, at Laurel Creek Road.
- The loop is a level, 11-mile drive.
- For a shorter drive, or to backtrack, turn onto Sparks Lane or Hyatt Lane–-two-way roads cutting across the middle of the loop.
- Public restrooms are at the ranger station at the entrance and the visitor’s center halfway around the loop.
- The road is closed to vehicles every Wednesday from May 4 to Sept. 28, so walkers and cyclists can use the road.
The map shows sites from the valley’s life before the national park absorbed the area. A few highlights:
- John Oliver Cabin
This first site after you begin the drive was home to the first permanent European settlers here. With the help of the Cherokee, the Olivers survived to build this cabin, which their descendants owned for more than a century.
- The Three Churches
Three churches created a community in the valley. At the Missionary Baptist Church, look for daffodils planted by Civilian Conservation Corps workers here to build the national park in the 1930s. At the Methodist Church, note the separate front doors for men and women.
- Elijah Oliver Place
Look for the “stranger’s room” by the front porch, open to anyone in need of shelter. This preserved homestead features a springhouse, corn crib, and smokehouse, showing residents’ self-sufficiency. This site is a one-mile round trip walk from its parking area.
- Abrams Falls
The waterfall packs a punch with its strong flow. Named for a Cherokee chief, Abrams Falls requires a five-mile round trip hike, rated as moderate. The area is known for bear sightings.
- Cable Mill
This water-powered 1867 mill still operates seasonally, using the original millstones. There are restrooms and a visitor’s center here.
- Cades Cove Nature Trail
After you pass Whitehead Place, this short walking path through the woods is on your right. Oaks, pines, maples, and dogwoods create colors all year.
- Carter Shields Cabin
The last site on the map is this picturesque cabin, a popular photo spot thanks to a backdrop of flowering spring trees. The cabin was home to a wounded Civil War veteran in the 20th century.
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