Cades Cove: A Must-See When Visiting the Great Smoky Mountains

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Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in all of the Great Smoky Mountains. This area offers a great opportunity to experience the lifestyle, traditions, and heritage of settlers who called Cades Cove their home. Several homes and churches in the Cove date as far back as the early 1800s.

Photo opportunities are abundant in Cades Cove. It is five miles long, nearly two miles wide, and almost perfectly flat. Surrounded by beautiful mountain vistas and featuring lush open meadows, many visitors see deer, bear, wild turkey, coyotes, and other wildlife roaming freely in their natural surroundings.

Cades Cove is also a great place to take a leisurely bike ride or hike. There are several trails that wind through the Cove, offering stunning views of the mountains and valley below. The 11-mile loop road is perfect for a scenic drive, and there are several pull-offs along the way where you can stop to take pictures or just enjoy the scenery.

Things to Do in Cades Cove

There are plenty of things to do in Cades Cove regardless of your interests. If you're looking to learn about the history and culture of the area, be sure to visit some of the historic buildings like the Cable Mill or John Oliver Cabin. For those interested in wildlife watching, Cades Cove is one of the best places in the Great Smoky Mountains to see black bears, white-tailed deer, coyotes, and wild turkeys. And if you're looking for a moderate hike with great views, try hikes like Abrams Falls or Rich Mountain Loop.

When to Visit Cades Cove

The best time to visit Cades Cove depends on what you're looking to do while you're there. The busiest time of year is during summer when school is out and families are taking vacations. However, this is also when wildlife activity is at its peak so it's a great time to see animals like bears and deer out foraging for food. Fall is another popular time to visit as the leaves begin to change color, but crowds will begin to thin out after October when winter starts setting in. Spring is a great time to visit if you want to avoid crowds but still have good weather for hiking and exploring.

No matter what time of year you visit or what your interests are, Cades Cove is sure to have something for everyone. So when you're planning your trip to Great Smoky Mountains National Park, be sure to add Cades Cove to your list of must-see destinations!