Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park! One of the reasons is because there is a ton to see and do, including some amazing hiking trails and a scenic loop road. While you probably have this area on your itinerary, there are some things you need to know before you go. Here are 4 fascinating things to do in Cades Cove:
1. Drive the Loop
The Cove features an array of things to see over the 11 mile one-way loop road. You will take in beautiful mountain views, historic buildings, and plenty of wildlife. Some of the animals you may spot roaming the fields include white tailed deer, turkeys, and horses. While these are all amazing creatures, the real prize is seeing the unofficial mascot of the Smokies, the black bear. Your best chance to see a bear in the Smokies is either in the early morning or close to dusk. The reason for this is because that is when the animals come out to search for food!
2. Explore the Trails
Cades Cove is home to a variety of unique hiking trails, so take a break from the car and get to exploring. Some of the incredible things you can find while hiking include remnants of old civilizations, cabins of former local residents, and astonishing churches and cemeteries. One of the hikes you will want to add to your list is the trail to the John Oliver Cabin. The cabin sets back off the road and holds an amazing amount of history. The owners, John and Lucretia Oliver, were the first permanent European settlers in the area. The cabin itself is amazing to see because it is held together by gravity and notched corners, meaning it does not need nails or pegs!
3. Visit Other Historical Structures
In addition to the John Oliver Cabin, there are many other historical buildings scattered throughout Cades Cove. Some of these incredible structures include the Primitive Baptist Church, Carter Shields Cabin, and the Cantilever Barn. While all these buildings are magnificent to see from the outside, it is worth exploring the interior as well! You will find helpful placards throughout the area that tell you the history of each building and the settlers who used them on a daily basis.
4. Take Plenty of Pictures
Whether you want some photos of wildlife, waterfalls, or just the scenic view of the mountains, this is the best place to take pictures in the Smokies! While you are enjoying the scenic loop, you will find plenty of pull offs so you can get out and capture the scenery. If you are trying to get a picture of wildlife, remember to keep a safe distance to protect both yourself and the creatures. Your family and friends back home will love looking through all the incredible photographs that you capture during your Smoky Mountain vacation!
Now that you know about some things to do in Cades Cove, be sure to learn more about the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We look forward to seeing you soon!