Top 4 Reasons to Stop at the Cades Cove Visitor Center on Your Loop Road Tour
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Cades Cove Loop Road offers a wonderful opportunity to see the beauty of the Smoky Mountains from the comfort of your car, as you can drive along at a leisurely place and stop to enjoy some of the sights! When you reach the midpoint of the 11 mile, one way loop road, you’ll come across the excellent visitor center where you can check out the bookstore, plan an itinerary with a park ranger or even explore some fascinating historical exhibits! Here are the top 4 reasons to stop at the Cades Cove Visitor Center on your Loop Road tour:
1. Browse Through the Bookstore and Shop
One of the highlights of the visitor center is the Great Smoky Mountains Association bookstore and shop, where you can find all kinds of fantastic information about the Smokies! Whether you are interested in learning about the history of the park, visiting some of the park’s most popular hiking trails or finding information about local wildlife, you’ll discover everything you need in the bookstore! The shop also has plenty of souvenirs for you to take back home after your adventure in the Smokies is over!
2. Enjoy the Historical Exhibits
Another reason to stop at the Cades Cove Visitor Center on your tour is to enjoy the free indoor and outdoor exhibits of Southern Mountain life and culture! This is the perfect way to see what it was like to live in the mountains as early settlers first arrived in the region. Head outside the building to see the mill that was owned by John Cable, one of the largest landowners in Cades Cove. If you visit during the spring or fall, you’ll even get to see this grist mill in operation! The Becky Cable House is also right outside, where Rebecca Cable lived with her brother from 1887 until her death in 1940.
3. Chat with a Park Ranger
The Great Smoky Mountain National Park has rangers that offer a tremendous wealth of information, so take the opportunity to chat with one of the friendly rangers at the Cades Cove Visitor Center! Whether you have specific questions about the park, want to know some of the current trail conditions, or need assistance developing an itinerary, the park rangers can lend a helping hand! Also note that Ranger-led programs are conducted seasonally, so be sure to check the center for times.
4. Stretch Your Legs and Use the Restrooms
The center is also a handy place to stop along the Loop Road so that you can stretch your legs and use the convenient public restrooms! Since most folks take at least 2 to 4 hours to tour Cades Cove, you’ll appreciate taking a break for a few minutes with a stroll around the Visitor Center! Note that the facility is open daily except for Christmas, and opens each morning at 9 A.M. While closing hours vary throughout the year, it is open until at least 4:30 PM with extended hours during the peak summer months.
As you can see, the Cades Cove Visitor Center is the perfect place to take a break along your tour of the Cades Cove Loop Road and learn more about this fascinating area of the Smokies! If you are looking for some more interesting places to stop, check out some of the hidden gems along the Cades Cove Loop!