horses in Cades Cove

4 Reasons to Visit Cades Cove in January

view of Cades Cove in winter at sunrise
December 28, 2023

Cades Cove is a beautiful place to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including during the cold winter months like January. While some other sections of the national park close during winter months, Cades Cove stays open year-round so you can continue to explore the natural beauty. Keep reading to find out a few of the reasons why you’ll especially love visiting Cades Cove in January.

1. Beautiful Winter Scenery

deer in Cades CoveCades Cove is well-known for its beautiful natural scenery. As you make your way through the valley surrounded by mountains, you get to see magnificent views all around. In the colder winter months, you may even get to see gorgeous views of snow-covered mountains and meadows. That’s one of the reasons why you’ll love visiting Cades Cove in January. There’s a good chance of seeing snow-capped mountains as you drive along the Cades Cove Loop Road. Just keep in mind that this road may close in poor weather conditions, so check before making the drive.

2. Less Crowded

Cades Cove is one of the most popular sections of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. That means during the peak visiting times of the year, you may see some traffic backups. If you want to avoid traffic, you should visit Cades Cove in January, as it’s one of the slowest months of the year. You’re less likely to have to sit in traffic as you drive along the Cades Cove Loop Road, and you’ll come across fewer people on the hiking trails in Cades Cove. This can make for a more relaxed experience and allow you to better enjoy the tranquility of nature.

3. Wildlife Viewing Opportunities

close up of white-tailed buck in snowy woodsThe Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, and it’s especially common to see wildlife in Cades Cove. You can observe wildlife during every season of the year in Cades Cove, including winter. Some wildlife may even be more active in the slower months like January, February, and March, as there is less traffic to disturb the animals. If you visit Cades Cove in January or another slow winter month, you may have the opportunity to see white-tailed deer, turkeys, coyotes, and otters. These are the most common animals to see in winter in Cades Cove. There’s also the opportunity to spot black bears. This is because black bears in Cades Cove don’t truly hibernate, so you may still get to see one walking around in January on warmer days.

4. Winter Hiking

One of the best things to do in Cades Cove in January is hiking. The hiking trails in Cades Cove are full of adventure and offer beautiful sights such as mountain views and waterfalls. In winter, you may get to see these views covered in a picturesque layer of snow. If you hike to Abrams Falls on a cold winter day, you may even get to see a frozen waterfall, which is an especially breathtaking sight. This makes for a great photo op that you don’t often get the chance to see. Other great winter hikes in Cades Cove include Gregory Bald, Rich Mountain Loop, and Spence Field. Just make sure you prepare for your winter hike so you can stay safe and warm.

More Things to Know About Visiting Cades Cove in Winter

These are just a few of the many reasons why you should visit Cades Cove in January. This is the perfect time to experience Cades Cove like never before. To help you prepare for your winter visit, make sure you check out these top 3 things you need to know about visiting Cades Cove in winter.

Related Blog Posts

Cades Cove
August 5, 2021
4 Things to Bring When You Stay at Cades Cove Campground
Cades Cove Visitor Center
January 5, 2023
3 Reasons Why Your Family Will Love Visiting Cades Cove
The Missionary Baptist Church, an important part of Cades Cove history.
May 31, 2017
Three Historic Churches You Should Visit on the Cades Cove Loop Road
view of open field in Cades Cove
February 28, 2017
The Best Things to Do in Cades Cove During Your Vacation to the Smoky Mountains