Your Guide to Visiting Cades Cove in the Fall

Your Guide to Visiting Cades Cove in the Fall

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People love to visit Cades Cove to see its beautiful nature scenery and abundant animal population. Even though the beauty is timeless, visitors especially like to come in the fall for the cooler temperatures and to see the pretty red and orange hues of the fall leaves. If you are planning a visit during this popular season, here is your guide to visiting Cades Cove in the fall:

1. Hours

Nature is technically always open, but it is important to note that Cades Cove does have hours. Weather permitting, the park is open from 8am to sunset. If you are hiking, keep in mind that it will get darker much earlier once the clock falls back. Even if you are a skilled hiker, it is never safe to hike in the dark. If you need help during your visit, the Cades Cove Visitor Center will be open. It is located near the middle of Cades Cove Loop Road and the hours vary due to sunlight. During the month of October, it will be open from 9am-6:30pm. In November, the Visitor Center will close at 5:30pm. You can learn more about the Cades Cove hours here!

2. Hiking

Stream near cades cove in fallEven though hiking in Cades Cove is ideal for the warmer months, this activity can also be fun in the cooler months as well. Make sure to bundle up with long pants, sweaters, and boots. Additionally, remember to drink plenty of water. You may think you need less when the sun is not beating down on you. However, you can get dehydrated in any weather, and conquering the sometimes hilly terrain can take a lot out of you. As for specific trails, the Gregory Bald Trail offers breathtaking panoramic views of the mountain. No matter what trail you take, remember to bring your camera as you can get great photos with the mountain views and fallen leaves in the background.

3. Animals

There are a lot of animals to see at Cades Cove in the fall! Black bears are very abundant here. You can see them most in early fall! The best time of day to spot them is in the early morning or late evening. As you continue to explore Cades Cove, you will definitely see (or hear) wild turkeys roaming about. They move the leaves out of the way with their feet to find food on the ground! You might also see a white tailed deer or hear a woodpecker in the trees. Even though the animals are majestic and fun to look at, remember that for your safety and the safety of the animals, you must stay at least 50 yards away from the wildlife at all times. If you want the best possible view at this distance, bring a pair of binoculars. Another important guideline about Cades Cove wildlife is not to feed the animals. Human food is not good for them no matter how delicious it may taste to us!

4. Scenic Drives

cades cove loop road in fallWith the weather getting colder, you may not want to go hiking. Even so, you can still experience the beauty of Cades Cove by taking a scenic drive. Visitors love the Cades Cove Loop Road. It is 11 miles long and jam packed with a combination of nature scenery and historical buildings! If you visit before mid-November, enjoy Rich Mountain Road, a 7-mile drive that offers an alternative way to exit Cades Cove.

Now that you know what Cades Cove is like in the fall, it’s time to plan your visit! Take a look at some of the best things to do at Cades Cove in the fall while you’re here!