Cades Cove is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Great Smokies. According to research, this valley attracts around 2 million tourists yearly. Tourists love this valley because of its preserved homesteads, abundant wildlife display, and scenic mountain views. Numerous settlers lived in the valley before the place was made a national park. Below are more details on Cades Cove.

Where Is Cades Cove?

Cades Cove is located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

From Gatlinburg:

If traveling from the Parkway/Highway 441, turn right onto Little River Road just ahead of the Sugarlands Visitor Center. From here, you’ll follow the signs leading you to Cades Cove. Little River Road will turn into Laurel Creek Road after the intersection with Lamar Alexander Parkway. When you hit Cades Cove Loop Road, take a right.

From Pigeon Forge:

You can follow similar directions from Gatlinburg if traveling from Pigeon Forge, or you can take the scenic route through Wears Valley and Townsend, TN. For this route, follow these directions:

Head west from the Parkway on Wears Valley Road and keep going for about 17 miles. When Wears Valley Road dead-ends into East Lamar Alexander Parkway, turn right and keep going until you’re in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This road turns into Townsend Entrance Road. At the end of Townsend Entrance, the road will fork into Little River Gorge Road (East) and Laurel Creek Road (West). Follow the western fork into Laurel Creek Road and continue on for 16 miles. Cades Cove Loop Road will be on the left. 

From Oak Haven Resort:

Want easy access to the Laurel Falls Trail? There’s a secret entrance into Great Smoky Mountains National Park directly from Oak Haven Resort. Follow the signs towards the park through Wears Valley, TN to Line Springs Road where you will find the Wears Valley National Park entrance on Wear Cove Gap Road. This will cut 30 minutes off of your drive! Click here for directions from Oak Haven Resort.

What Are Cades Cove’s Hours?

Cades Cove Loop Road is usually open all year. You can use this road from sunrise to sunset when the weather is favorable. However, you should not visit Cades Cove with a vehicle on Wednesdays from May 5 to September 1 since cyclists and the people on foot are the only ones allowed to use this road.

When Are the Best Times to Visit?

If you are thinking about visiting the Cades Cove Loop, you should visit it early in the morning, late in the afternoon, or around lunchtime. You should also ensure that you visit this valley during the week since the place is usually congested on weekends.

If you love the appearance of snow-covered mountains, you should visit the valley during the winter months. When you visit, you will enjoy seeing snow-covered mountains and historic sites. You will also see a frozen waterfall and wildlife. However, you should check whether the Cades Cove Road is open since it is usually closed when the weather is not favorable.

You can also decide to visit this valley in winter. You will enjoy exploring the area during this time, especially if you go for a hike, picnic, or horse riding. You will also enjoy seeing wildlife and blooming wildflowers.

If you want to go cycling or take a walk in Cades Cove, summer is the best season to visit. You should visit this place early in the morning since you will see a lot of wild animals during this time. You can also visit Cades Cove in the fall, especially if you want to view wildlife. You can easily spot wild animals such as coyotes, turkeys, black bears, and tailed deer during this season.

What Are the Best Cades Cove Hiking Trails?

Abram Falls is one of the best Cades Cove hiking trails. It passes through sections of mountain laurel forest and pine and descends to the great Abrams Creek Gore. The trail will take you to the Abrams Falls waterfall, which is quite powerful, and its water flow is large. At the base of the fall, there is a beach area to relax. To reach this trail, drive on Cades Cove Loop Road. After covering around 4.8 miles, turn right. While driving, you will see an Abrams Falls sign. Drive towards this sign until you see a parking lot.

Gregory’s Bald is another popular Cades Cove hiking trail that will take you to a mountain filled with wildflowers. While on this mountain, you will enjoy the scenic views of Cades Cove and the mountains surrounding it. You will also enjoy the scenic views of wildflowers that grow on this mountain, especially if you visit this place in June.

Crib Gap Trail is another popular Cades Cove hiking trail. The trail is a perfect hiking trail for hiking beginners. It follows the Laurel Creek Road and connects with the Finley Cane Trail.

Another popular Cades Cove hiking trail is the thunderhead hiking trail, which will take you to two mountain peaks, where you can enjoy the beautiful views of the Smoky Mountains. However, this trail is strenuous, and you should only follow it if you are an experienced hiker.

How Do You Get to Cades Cove Loop?

Drive to the Cades Cove Loop to the Smoky Mountains national park. While driving, you will see a Sugarland Visitor Center sign on your right. Make a right turn and drive for 25 miles when you get to this center. You will then see the entrance to the great Cades Cove.

What You’ll See Along the Cades Cove Loop Road

  • A working mill
  • Three churches that have cemeteries
  • Cantilevered barns
  • Log homes

How Many Waterfalls Are in Cades Cove?

There are three waterfalls in Cades Cove. Abrams Falls is the most common waterfall. The other two waterfalls are Mill Creek Falls and Crooked Arm Cascades waterfall.

Are There Shortcuts Along the Cades Cove Loop?

There are shortcuts along the Cades Cove Loop. One of these shortcuts can act as an escape tool while the other is four miles long. You should use the four miles-long shortcut when cycling.

What Is the Best Time to See Bears at Cades Cove?

If you want to see bears, you should visit Cades Cove in the fall or late summer. You will see these animals along the Loop during the early morning hours. The bears are also seen in the early evening or late afternoon hours.

How Far Is Cades Cove From Gatlinburg?

The distance between Gatlinburg and Cades Cove is approximately 33 miles. Therefore, driving from downtown Gatlinburg to Cades Cove will take you around one and a half hours.

Cades Cove Loop is a beautiful area that has several hiking trails. It is a valley that the Smoky Mountains surround, and it has several historic sites. You should visit it early in the morning or late in the evening since, during this time, the number of visitors is usually low.

Luxury Cabins near Cades Cove

Oak Haven Resort & Spa is conveniently located at the foothills of the Smokies close to Cades Cove. If you’re looking for a cabin retreat for you, your spouse, or the whole family that fits your budget, book with us today! Our helpful staff will be happy to assist you with finding the perfect mountain cabin for your vacation in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, TN, area.

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