When it comes to scenic drives in the Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove Loop Road is second to none! This 11-mile, one-way loop provides you with the opportunity to explore one of the most unique and beautiful sections of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. While you should allow at least 2 to 4 hours to tour Cades Cove, you could spend much longer if you want to hike some of the trails in the area! Here are the top 4 reasons why you should drive the Cades Cove Loop Road:
1. Wildlife Viewing
Cades Cove Loop Road is so popular because it is one of the best places in the national park to view wildlife! Some of the animals frequently spotted in the open valley of Cades Cove include black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, coyotes, and turkeys. While you may see wildlife at any time of day, you will likely have an even better chance in the morning and evening hours. While seeing these creatures is fascinating, you should keep a safe distance to protect the animals and yourself. We recommend you bring a pair of binoculars to share with your family and friends since you never know what you might spot in the distance!
2. Convenient Visitor Center
The Cades Cove Loop Road features a convenient Visitor Center that is open daily throughout the year except for Christmas Day. This facility is located about mid-point through the loop, making it the perfect place to stop and stretch your legs! The Cades Cove Visitor Center has a bookstore, seasonal ranger led programs, and public restrooms. There are also a collection of indoor and outdoor exhibits about Southern Mountain life and culture.
3. Fascinating History
Cades Cove has fascinating history you can learn about as you drive along the Loop! Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove for hundreds of years, and the first Europeans arrived into the area between 1818 and 1821. By 1830, the population of Cades Cove had already grown to 271! You can view a wide variety of historic buildings along Cades Cove Loop Road, including a working grist mill, 3 churches, log homes, barns, and many other 18th and 19th century structures that have been restored.
4. Excellent Hiking Options
If you love to hike, you will be happy to know there are plenty of excellent hiking trails that originate in Cades Cove! This includes the 5-mile round trip trail to Abrams Falls, which is considered moderate in difficulty. While Abrams Falls is only 20 feet tall, it is notable for the large volume of water flowing over the falls and the gorgeous, deep pool at its base. If you prefer a shorter hike, go on the Cades Cove Nature Trail that winds through the forest to view some beautiful oak, dogwood, sourwood, and pine trees.
You will love driving around the Cades Cove Loop Road on your next trip! Check out all of our cabins in the Smoky Mountains today to stay within easy driving distance this popular Smoky Mountain destination! We look forward to seeing you soon!