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322 votes

Cades Cove

10035 Campground Drive, Townsend, Tennessee 37882 USA

Closed Now
Opens Tue 9a
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“discover the rich history of this verdant valley ”

Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It 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.

The valley has a rich history. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. An inexpensive self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the road provides in-depth information about the buildings and the people who built and used them.

An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area's trails. Traffic is heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round. While driving the loop road, please be courteous to other visitors and use pullouts when stopping to enjoy the scenery or view wildlife.

Cades Cove is 6,800-acres nestled in a beautiful isolated valley located in the East Tennessee section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a representative sample of this Park's natural and cultural history as well as its recreational opportunities. Open fields lap against 5,500-foot mountain peaks. With more than 2.5 million visitors annually, it is the Park's most popular destination. Most people come to Cades Cove to observe the wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bear, raccoon, turkeys, woodchucks, and other animals. Cades Cove offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park.

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
October 21, 2014
Rated 4.0

Very beautiful.. But as others have said, busy even if it's not a weekend during fall season. Expect to take your time even if you weren't planning on making somewhat of a day of it. Bring a camera, lots of great pics if you have some patients to get the shot in high traffic areas

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 1 Helpful
April 10, 2015
Rated 4.0

I also enjoyed Cades Cove. There are some great scenic views available where you can pull over to take pictures... I, however wasn't particularly interested in getting out at all of the settlement stops. There's old chuches and dwellings which you can see from the road, and that was fine for me. I went early April and if you go early in the morning around 9 or 10 you won't hit traffic, however around 12 you will see an increase. Must do Abrams Falls

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 72 Reviews
  • 24 Helpful
September 30, 2014
Rated 4.0

We really enjoyed the drive through Cades Cove. Absolutely beautiful, lots of places to stop and observe both nature and settlements (churches, cabins).

But it could really use two lanes. One slow driver on the 1 lane loop means you could add hours on to your trip. And from what I hear, it's pretty much always busy.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 11 Reviews
  • 9 Helpful
September 08, 2014

Step back in time, and ready yourself for a beautiful drive and historic information.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 26 Reviews
  • 12 Helpful
May 28, 2014
Rated 4.0

I went in March while the weather was still slightly chilly and there was heavy traffic when I went as well. Expect to spend most of the day there. Still, I had a wonderful time though. The place is absolutely beautiful and full of history. Lots of trails for hiking, biking, etc. Seen plenty of wildlife as well (although I was a little disappointed I didn't get to see a bear). Perfect place for a nature/history lover.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 4 Helpful
March 06, 2014

It's a wonderful place. Visited in early march so traffic was low but in summer it is a busy place I'd imagine, because it is beautiful and well worth the drive. Hiked to both Abrams and Laurel falls, Laurel was 45 mins round trip (paved so strollers are common) Abrams falls took about 2 hours round trip and less crowded.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
February 25, 2014

Very heavy traffic, so take your time. Worth the visit of you love God's creation.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
September 24, 2016
Rated 3.0

You get to see such beautiful wildlife and scenery. However, go early in the AM due to hikers, bikers and drivers constantly blocking the roadway regardless of the numerous signs posted to "please pull over to the shoulder". Most people weren't considerate and even rude. I seen several bikers cut off drivers and almost get hit and several drivers not sharing the road. loved the views but won't be back.

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Reviewed by

  • 10 Reviews
  • 9 Helpful
June 19, 2016
Rated 5.0

Really gorgeous views and an unforgettable experience. We bought sandwiches at the campground site, and pulled over for a really lovely picnic. Plan on ~4 hours for this one, though.

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 01, 2016
Rated 4.0

It's best to get there early. We got there at 8am and by 8:45 there was a traffic jam, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked taking our time. We saw many bears, deer and turkeys. The bears were the attention getters and there were many cluster groups trying to view once one was spotted. Very beautiful cove!

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Cades Cove

10035 Campground Drive
Townsend, Tennessee
37882 USA


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