Cades Cove

Vacation Travel Guide
Cades Cove showing mountains and forests as well as a small group of people

Spot colorful wildlife and enjoy the delightful natural landscapes of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park via scenic drives and hikes.

Cades Cove is a sprawling green valley in the midst of the Great Smoky Mountains. Discover magnificent ridges, dense forests and stunning waterfalls. Visit historic churches and the homesteads of early settlers and spot native wildlife. Once the Cherokee Indians used the area as a hunting ground. From the early 1820s European pioneers cultivated the fertile land of Cades Cove for corn and other crops. Today, the valley is one of the most visited regions of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

A great way to see the valley is to drive along the 11-mile (18-kilometer) Cades Cove Loop. This one-way road cuts through thick woodland and broad meadows, which offer views of towering peaks. Pause at the historic buildings, many built in the 1800s by European settlers. Among these are the John Oliver Cabin, Tipton Place, John Cable Grist Mill and Primitive Baptist Church.

Several hiking trails lead from the loop road and snake their way through the cove. Walk the 5-mile (8-kilometer) roundtrip to Abrams Falls or the 9-mile (14-kilometer) roundtrip Chestnut Top Trail for wildflowers and mountain views. Feel on top of the world as you hike the Rich Mountain Loop up 3,686-foot-tall (1,123-meter) Cerulean Knob. Challenge the strenuous hike to Rocky Top, one of the peaks of Thunderhead Mountain.

Be alert for the varied wildlife native to the valley. Spot black bears, coyotes, elk, turkeys and white-tailed deer. The best time to see black bears is in the early morning or late evening in spring and early summer. The Cades Cove Nature Trail offers excellent wildlife-spotting opportunities and is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness.

Find the valley in the western section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Townsend, an hour from Pigeon Forge and 90 minutes from Knoxville.

Cades Cove is open year-round, although the loop road is subject to closure during extreme weather conditions. Pick up a self-guided pamphlet and trail maps at the Cades Cove Visitor Center.

Top things to do in Cades Cove

Top Hotels Close to Cades Cove

Newly renovated Log Lodge with stunning views, hot tub, game room, firepit, WiFi
Newly renovated Log Lodge with stunning views, hot tub, game room, firepit, WiFi
Townsend, TN
This family-friendly Townsend vacation home is located in the mountains, within 3 mi (5 km) of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Tuckaleechee Caverns. ...
5/5 Exceptional! (3 reviews)
Excellent place to spend with family
"The view was great, the kids saw a couple bears. We were close to the park and away from the traffic of Pigeon Forge. We were able to eat as a group in the large dining area. It was a great place to have a family get together."

Reviewed on Jul 27, 2021

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Newly renovated Log Lodge with stunning views, hot tub, game room, firepit, WiFi
Poplar Place - Quiet, whirpool bath, king bed, wood fireplace
Poplar Place - Quiet, whirpool bath, king bed, wood fireplace
Townsend, TN
Situated in Townsend, this cabin is 1.9 mi (3 km) from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 2.6 mi (4.2 km) from Tuckaleechee Caverns. The Little River Railroad ...
4.4/5 Excellent! (25 reviews)
Awesome location
"We enjoyed our stay and will stay there again."

Reviewed on Jun 22, 2021

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Poplar Place - Quiet, whirpool bath, king bed, wood fireplace
EXCEPTIONALLY CLEAN - 3 bdrms, Bonfire Pit, Screened Porch, Mountain Shade
EXCEPTIONALLY CLEAN - 3 bdrms, Bonfire Pit, Screened Porch, Mountain Shade
Townsend, TN
Situated in Townsend, this cabin is 1.8 mi (3 km) from Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 2.7 mi (4.3 km) from Tuckaleechee Caverns. The Little River Railroad ...
4.4/5 Wonderful! (32 reviews)
Beautiful!
"The house is beautiful and spacious! And a huge yard!"

Reviewed on Sep 28, 2021

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EXCEPTIONALLY CLEAN - 3 bdrms, Bonfire Pit, Screened Porch, Mountain Shade
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near Cades Cove

Tremont Lodge & Resort
Tremont Lodge & Resort
3 out of 5
7726 E Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN
The price is $99 per night from Nov 15 to Nov 15
Tremont Lodge & Resort
Newly renovated Log Lodge with stunning views, hot tub, game room, firepit, WiFi
Newly renovated Log Lodge with stunning views, hot tub, game room, firepit, WiFi
Townsend, TN
Newly renovated Log Lodge with stunning views, hot tub, game room, firepit, WiFi
Poplar Place - Quiet, whirpool bath, king bed, wood fireplace
Poplar Place - Quiet, whirpool bath, king bed, wood fireplace
Townsend, TN
Poplar Place - Quiet, whirpool bath, king bed, wood fireplace
EXCEPTIONALLY CLEAN - 3 bdrms, Bonfire Pit, Screened Porch, Mountain Shade
EXCEPTIONALLY CLEAN - 3 bdrms, Bonfire Pit, Screened Porch, Mountain Shade
Townsend, TN
EXCEPTIONALLY CLEAN - 3 bdrms, Bonfire Pit, Screened Porch, Mountain Shade
The Poplar
The Poplar
3.5 out of 5
978 Old Cades Cove Rd., Townsend, TN
The Poplar
Mountain Shade
Mountain Shade
3.5 out of 5
978 Old Cades Cove Rd., Townsend, TN
Mountain Shade
Cozy Cottage near National Park with Awesome Mountain Views! No added fees!
Cozy Cottage near National Park with Awesome Mountain Views! No added fees!
Townsend, TN
Cozy Cottage near National Park with Awesome Mountain Views! No added fees!
22 Acre paradise walking distance from Cades Cove and the National Park!
22 Acre paradise walking distance from Cades Cove and the National Park!
Townsend, TN
22 Acre paradise walking distance from Cades Cove and the National Park!
Extremely clean cabin in a quiet setting with an outdoor fire pit. No added fees
Extremely clean cabin in a quiet setting with an outdoor fire pit. No added fees
Townsend, TN
Extremely clean cabin in a quiet setting with an outdoor fire pit. No added fees
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.