horses in Cades Cove

Is Cades Cove Worth Driving To?

cades cove open valley
March 15, 2019

With so many beautiful places to explore in the Smokies, you might be having trouble deciding which one to visit first. Cades Cove has always been a favorite spot among locals and visitors alike. In fact, it’s actually one of the most popular destinations in the national park! At this point, you might be asking yourself if this attraction is actually worth the drive, especially if you’re a little farther away. The short answer to this question is ABSOLUTELY, and here are 5 reasons why!

1. Once You Get There, You Won’t Want to Leave

Cades Cove Loop RoadCades Cove is one of the most scenic places in the national park, and once you arrive, you won’t want to leave! This wide-open valley is surrounded by sweeping mountain vistas, making it one of the best places to take pictures among many other fun activities. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, especially if you’re not from around the Smoky Mountain area.

2. You Can Spend an Entire Day There

There are countless activities for you and your family to enjoy when you visit Cades Cove! You don’t have to worry about committing to driving out there and then leaving right away because you’re bored. It’s easy to spend an entire day exploring all that this amazing area has to offer. Whether you’re hiking, biking or horseback riding, you’re sure to have an unforgettable experience. You don’t even have to get out of your vehicle to enjoy the beauty of this cove, as you can take a scenic drive right through it on the loop road!

3. It’s Full of History

If you haven’t visited before, there are probably quite a few things you don’t know about Cades Cove history. There are historic structures scattered all throughout the cove with 3 churches, a working grist mill, barns, and log houses visible right from the loop road. The park maintains these buildings and there are even a few that you can walk inside of. You can also pick up a tour booklet at the entrance to the road or at one of the visitor centers to guide you along your way.

4. You Can Pack A Picnic

It’s easy to work up an appetite when you’re having fun in Cades Cove! Luckily, there are plenty of places for you to stop for a picnic. You can also just spread out a blanket in the grass and enjoy your lunch in the sunshine. Just be sure to pick up all of your leftovers and trash because when left unattended, food can attract wildlife.

5. You Can Spot Smoky Mountain Wildlife

black bear walking on road

Viewing wildlife in the national park can be challenging because most of it is covered by dense forest. However, this isn’t an issue in an open area like Cades Cove! This gorgeous valley offers some of the best opportunities to see white-tailed deer, elk, black bear, raccoon, turkeys, woodchucks, and other amazing animals. Take a look at some of our tips for Cades Cove wildlife viewing so that you can give yourself the best chance to see them.

If you still want to learn more about Cades Cove before you visit, we can help! Check out our answers to some of the most popular questions about Cades Cove!

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