With so many fun activities and gorgeous views, it comes as no surprise that Cades Cove is one of the most visited places in the national park. Whether you’re in the mood for a scenic drive or just want to sit back and watch the wildlife, there’s something here that you’re sure to enjoy! To help you make the most of your trip, here are some of the top things to do when you visit Cades Cove.
1. Enjoy an Auto Tour
One of the most popular activities in Cades Cove is to auto tour the 11-mile loop road that circles it. Along this scenic drive, you’ll pass several historic homesites and buildings as well as open fields with gorgeous views of the mountains in the distance. There are also several pull-offs along the route where you can park your car without block the road. Then, you can hop out for a few minutes to stretch your legs and take a few pictures before continuing on your way.
2. Take a Hike
If you want to get some exercise in, you can explore Cades Cove on foot. This way, you can get an up-close look at the historic cabins, churches, grist mill, and more! In addition to walking around these building and homesites, you can also go for a hike on one of the scenic trails that begin here, including the Abrams Falls trail, the Gregory Bald trail, and many others.
3. Go for a Bike Ride
Biking around Cades Cove is another fun activity to do while you’re there. You can even enjoy your ride when you go when the loop road is closed off to motor vehicles. This happens every Wednesday and Saturday until 10 a.m. from early May through late September. If you don’t have a bike or simply don’t feel like loading yours up and taking it with you, there are rentals available at the Cades Cove Campground Store.
4. Wildlife Viewing
During the winter, wildlife is more visible because deciduous trees have lost their leaves. Many animals are most active at night, so it’s a good idea to visit during morning and evening hours. White-tailed deer are frequently seen in and around Cades Cove. You might even spot other native species like black bears, coyotes, and turkeys.
5. Have a Photoshoot
With all the beautiful views surrounding Cades Cove, it’s only natural to want to take some pictures! It’s beautiful all year round, but each season offers a completely new experience. The fall is a popular time to visit because of the vibrant colors of the leaves, as is summer because you’ll be surrounded with all different shades of green. With spring comes a variety of wildflowers just starting to bloom, and it can feel like a snowy wonderland during the winter. Whatever time of the year you visit, the beautiful views are sure to make the perfect backdrop for any photo shoot!
Be sure to check out Cades Cove and all the other amazing destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when you visit!