horses in Cades Cove

7 FAQs About Visiting Cades Cove in Winter

Cades Cove church covered in snow
December 19, 2023

Winter is a beautiful time to visit Cades Cove! If you’ve never visited Cades Cove this time of year, then you likely have some questions. That’s why we’ve put together this list of answers to the most frequently asked questions about visiting Cades Cove in winter. Take a look to find out everything you need to know before you make your way to this gorgeous section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

1. Does Cades Cove Close in Winter?

Unlike some other sections of the national park like Clingmans Dome and Roaring Fork, Cades Cove does not close for winter. If you are interested in visiting Cades Cove this time of year, you’ll be happy to know that Cades Cove is open all year round. However, keep in mind that Cades Cove is the only area of the national park that closes at night, which means it is only accessible from sun up to sun down each day. The Cades Cove Visitor Center is open every day of the year, including during winter months, except on Christmas Day.

2. What Kind of Weather Does Cades Cove See in Winter?

john oliver cabin in the snowWinter is fairly moderate in Cades Cove. Because Cades Cove is a valley and has a lower elevation than other areas of the national park, it doesn’t get as cold or receive as much snow. When Cades Cove does see snowy winter weather, the valley transforms into a breathtaking winter wonderland. When visiting Cades Cove during winter, you can experience temperatures ranging from well below freezing to over 50 degrees.

3. Can I See Wildlife in Cades Cove in Winter?

There is a good chance of spotting wildlife when visiting Cades Cove any time of the year, including in winter. In the colder months, you’re likely to see small wildlife such as squirrels and birds, and it’s not uncommon to see larger wildlife like white-tailed deer and coyotes. On warmer winter days, you may even get the chance to see a black bear wandering around for a snack.

4. Are Cades Cove Riding Stables Open in Winter?

White horse in Cades Cove leaning over a fence.Cades Cove Riding Stables are not open in winter. Horseback riding season lasts from March 3 to November 30. If you want to go horseback riding while visiting Cades Cove, you’ll need to schedule a trip during their operating season.

5. Does Cades Cove Loop Road Close for Inclement Weather?

Cades Cove Loop Road is open throughout the winter as long as there is no inclement weather. If the area gets a lot of snow or ice, the roads into and throughout Cades Cove may close. This is to keep visitors safe during poor road conditions. Make sure you check for road closures before visiting Cades Cove this winter.

6. What Should I Bring for a Winter Hike in Cades Cove?

hiker tying hiking boots on snowy trailIf you are visiting Cades Cove this winter and plan on going hiking, there are a few things you should bring with you so you can be prepared for a winter hike. As with any hike, you should bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. You should dress in layers that you can remove so you can stay warm without overheating during your hike. You may also need crampons for your shoes to help you avoid slipping on snowy or icy surfaces.

7. Can I Go Camping in Cades Cove in Winter?

Are you interested in camping in Cades Cove this winter? Cades Cove Campground has campsites open year-round, allowing you to stay right in the middle of the national park. Both RV camping and tent camping are popular at Cades Cove Campground. The campground offers restrooms and drinking water, but there are no showers or electric hookups, so make sure you’re prepared with ways to keep warm without electricity.

Things to Do When Visiting Cades Cove in Winter

Now you know more about visiting Cades Cove in winter. If you’re wondering what you can do this time of year, check out this list of activities to do in winter in Cades Cove. No matter how you choose to spend your time in Cades Cove this winter, you’re sure to enjoy beautiful sights and have a great time during your visit!

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