Top Things to Keep Your Eyes Out for Along the Cades Cove Loop (Includes Scavenger Hunt)
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Cades Cove is the most visited destination inside the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That’s because along the Cades Cove loop you will step back in time to explore pieces of early Appalachian history from rustic cabins to old barn. You will also be treated to views of the Smoky Mountains, beautiful valley views, and may even see native wildlife.   

Here’s what you’ll find along the Cades Cove Loop:

  • Oliver Cabin: John and Lurany were some of the first settlers in Cades Cove. The Oliver Cabin is a cool architectural structure. It is held together by notches in the wood and help up by its own weight. There are no nails or pegs keeping it up.
  • Primitive Baptist Church: The Primitive Baptist Church was built in 1887. It was built because of a split in the original Baptist church congregation over a particular Bible interpretation. 

    abrams falls waterfall

  • Methodist Church: The Methodist Church you see now along the Cades Cove loop was built in 1902. The original Methodist congregation meet in a structure that only had dirt floors and a fire pit. 
  • Missionary Baptist Church: The original Missionary Church was built in 1894, but popularity of this particular congregation’s beliefs grew quickly so a new, larger church was built in 1915. This is the church now in Cades Cove open to visitors.
  • Cooper Road Trail Head: Joe Cooper is who this trail is named after. He is credited for vastly improving the wagon road.
  • Elijah Oliver Place: Elijah Oliver was John Oliver’s son. This was the home he built in Cades Cove.
  • Abram Falls Trail Head: Abrams Falls is a very popular hiking trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The waterfall is only 20 feet tall, but has a massive amount of water that flows over its edges.
  • Cades Cove Visitor Center: The Visitor Center is a great place to learn more history about the Cove. you can also buy books and souvenirs like flour produced by the grist mill!
  • Cable Mill: The Cable Mill is the only working grist mill in the Smoky Mountains. At the Cable Mill you can also explore barns, homes, a smokehouse, and a blacksmith shop.
  • Henry Whitehead CabinHenry Whitehead Place: The Whitehead cabin was very special in its time. It was a genuine log cabin, and a chimney built from bricks! Bricks at the time had to be hand made if you wanted them.
  • Cades Cove Nature Trail: The Cades Cove Nature Trail is a great place to stretch your legs, and see gorgeous wildflowers.
  • Dan Lawson Place: Daw Lawson is another place you’ll find where the structure had a lot of care put in. It too has hand made bricks.
  • Tipton Place: The Tipton Place is an impressive two story home along the Cades Cove loop. It was lived in by Miss Lucy and Miss Lizzie Tipton who were school teachers in Cades Cove.
  • Cantilever Barn: Across from the Tipton Place is the cantilever barn. This was a genius architectural design found almost exclusively in the Smoky Mountains. The design protect crops.
  • Carter Shields Cabin: George Washington “Carter” Shields only lived in his home in Cades Cove for 11 years and then moved away.

It is very common to come across wildlife in Cades Cove! You could possibly spot any of the following animals: deer, chipmunks, horses, wild turkey, and even black bear both adults and cubs!  

There’s a lot to see along the Cades Cove loop! Click here to print out our Cades Cove Scavenger Hunt List for your next visit and see how many things your eyes can spot along the way!

cades cove scavanger hunt