What Makes Cades Cove so Magical?

One of the last, great, true treasures of Appalachian history held sacred in the Tennessee Smokies is Cades Cove; a sanctuary of mountain culture if ever there was one.

Cades Cove is a valley inside the GSMNP that was once known as “Kate’s Cove”. The area was once a hunting ground for the nearby Cherokee tribes who drew to the valley for its numerous wildlife and fertile ground. The European pioneers who came after settled the land for the same reasons. Kate was the wife of a Cherokee Chief, and subsequent dialects soon shaped the name into “Cades Cove”.

You can tour Cades Cove by foot with numerous hiking trails that start there, or by bike or motor vehicle through the 11 mile Cades Cove loop road that provides multiple stops with significant historical items on them. You’ll be able to see the John Oliver Cabin, the Primitive Baptist Church, and the Becky Cable House. Those of you who like wildlife will find they’re just as abundant now as they were back in the 1800’s with white-tailed deer, bears, coyotes, groundhogs, turkeys, raccoon, skunks, and just about every other type of animal you can find in the mountains roaming about.

Vehicle-free access along the Cades Cove Loop Road takes place each Wednesday from May through September.

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