Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park, including deer, bears, hogs, and turkeys. An 11-mile, one-way road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace.
The Cades Cove Loop is a scenic, 11-mile drive with a backdrop of the mountain peaks and its lush, rolling greens. The loop is a one-way, one-lane paved road; be prepared to stop frequently, and the loop takes approximately two to four hours to complete. Nevertheless, the slow pace makes it easy to enjoy the mountain landscapes, wildflower meadows and diverse wildlife. When traveling the scenic loop road, plan to get out and visit the restored buildings, the Visitor Center, and the ample photo spots.
For hundreds of years, Cherokee Native Americans hunted in Cades Cove. The first Europeans settled in the cover between 1818 and 182, and by 1830, the population expanded to 271 residents. Scattered along the loop are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth-century structures. Pick up a tour booklet for information about the buildings you'll see in the cove and the people who lived here.
Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is the most visited part of this National Park, and offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible.