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Top 4 Reasons Why the Cades Cove Picnic Area is the Perfect Place for Lunch

picnic area
May 31, 2023

While exploring the Cades Cove Loop Road, take a break to enjoy a delicious picnic lunch among the beauty of the Smoky Mountains! The Cades Cove Picnic Area is situated right at the entrance and exit to the loop, making it a great place to stop before or after your visit! You’ll find 81 sites that sit between Abrams Creek and Green Branch Creek, so pack a cooler and take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to dine in the mountains! Here are the top 4 reasons why the Cades Cove Picnic Area is the perfect place for lunch:

1. Beautiful Scenery and Wildlife

deer in Cades CoveThe Cades Cove Picnic Area offers spectacular scenery in every direction, making it the picture-perfect location for your meal! You’ll notice several peaceful brooks in the area, which just adds to the ambiance of a picnic in the Smokies! Also keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife that tends to roam through this popular area of the National Park, as you may spot everything from white-tailed deer to the iconic black bear! Due to the amount of wildlife in the area, just remember to promptly dispose of garbage in bear-proof trash cans and be sure not to approach a bear if you do see one!

2. Charcoal Grills at Picnic Sites

One of the great things about the Cades Cove Picnic Area is that you’ll find charcoal grills at the picnic sites so that you can fire up hamburgers, hot dogs and all of your other picnic favorites! If you need to pick up any last minute beverages, snacks or other supplies, consider stopping by the Cades Cove Campground Store prior to setting up for your picnic! As a reminder, only charcoal fires are permitted at the picnic sites and wood fires are forbidden.

3. Convenient Location and Operating Hours

sunny summer day on cades cove loop roadSince the Cades Cove Picnic Area is situated adjacent to the Cades Cove Campground and the start/end of the Loop Road, it is a very convenient location for your picnic lunch! If you are an early riser, you can explore all of the fascinating historical sights along the loop and enjoy your meal on the way out of the area! Likewise, the picnic area also makes a great first stop for afternoon visitors who are just arriving! The Cades Cove Picnic Area is open year-round at sunrise and closes at 8 PM from late April to early September, but closes at sunset at the other times of year. This gives you plenty of flexibility to plan a time for your lunch!

4. Departure Point for the Anthony Creek Trail

If you want to work off your picnic lunch with a hearty hike, you’ll be excited to know that the trailhead for the Anthony Creek Trail is located at the Cades Cove Picnic Area! This trail goes 3.5 miles up Bote Mountain for an altitude gain of 3,000 feet. Most hikers consider the Anthony Creek Trail to be strenuous at times, so be sure to bring some extra water as you make your way up. Despite the difficulty, you’ll find that it is well worth the effort once you experience the wonderful views from Spence Field and Rocky Top!

Now that you know why the Cades Cove Picnic Area is the perfect place for lunch, plan a full day in the area by learning about the best times to visit Cades Cove!

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