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Top 4 Things to Know About Hiking the Cooper Road Trail in Cades Cove

Cooper Road Trail marker
July 28, 2023

If you’re up for a fun hike during your visit to Cades Cove, you’ll find the Cooper Road Trail just off of the Cades Cove Loop Road! You’ll experience lots of beautiful scenery and even some history during your journey, as this is a former Indian Trail that was once the main access way into Cades Cove for early settlers arriving to the Smoky Mountains! Here are the top 4 things to know about hiking the Cooper Road Trail in Cades Cove:

1. What to Expect

person on a hiking trail in the smokiesThe Cooper Road Trail is a relatively easy trail that travels for 10.9 miles in one direction to the Abrams Creek campground and features just a few steep inclines that are short and spread out. This is an excellent option for those who want to get an early start in Cades Cove and spend most of the day enjoying a unique hike! You’ll find plenty of maple, oak and pine trees as you begin your trek, then you’ll eventually cut back and forth above a creek where wildflowers are prevalent. When you reach the junction with the Little Bottoms Trail, it is just under a mile to the campground!

2. How to Access the Trail

It is easy to access the Cooper Road Trail in Cades Cove, as the trailhead is just about a mile past the Missionary Baptist Church on the Cades Cove Loop Road. The trailhead is on the right side of the road with a pullout for cars across the road on the left. Just remember that you are required to have a Great Smoky Mountains National Park Parking Tag displayed when parking your car, and parking passes are available online through recreation.gov. You can also buy the parking tag at multiple sales locations within the park, including at all of the official visitor centers.

3. Trail Connections Along the Hike

Hatcher Mountain Trail markerIf you want to explore the Cooper Road Trail as well as some of the other trails in the Cades Cove area, there are several trail connections along the hike! The first connecting trail you’ll find is the Wet Bottom Trail, which you can follow to see the 1866 Elijah Oliver Cabin. This is the most remote cabin in Cades Cove and is well worth the detour to get a glimpse of what life was like on an Applachian pioneer homestead! If you continue forward on the Cooper Road Trail, you’ll eventually find intersections with the Beard Cane Trail, Hatcher Mountain Trail, Cane Creek Trail, Gold Mine Trail and Little Bottoms Trail.

4. Safety Tips for Hiking the Cooper Road Trail

Since you’ll be spending quite a few hours hiking the Cooper Road Trail, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind! You’ll want to keep hydrated and eat enough to maintain your energy, so pack plenty of water and snacks in your backpack. You also want to be well aware of the time, especially if you are getting a late start on this particular hike. Cades Cove is open year round from 8 AM to sunset, so plan your day accordingly so that you’re back before the sun goes down! Here are some of the other hiking safety tips for trails in Cades Cove.

Now that you know all about the Cooper Road Trail, you’re ready to plan your hiking adventure in Cades Cove! If you’re interested in some of the other fun hikes in the area, check out these 5 incredible Cades Cove hiking trails you will love!

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