horses in Cades Cove

What NOT to Do When You Visit Cades Cove

Cades Cove
February 25, 2019

Cades Cove is one of the most-visited destinations in the national park, and it’s no wonder why! From picnicking to wildlife viewing and so much in between, there’s an activity for everyone to enjoy. Here are a few things to avoid doing to ensure that you have a successful trip to Cades Cove.

1. Don’t Feed the Animals

The danger of feeding wildlife has less to do with the food itself and everything to do with the behavior that follows. When you feed the wildlife in the national park, you teach the animals to associate humans with food. This could cause them to become comfortable approaching other people which may lead to them acting unpredictably when those people become panicked. The same thing happens when you leave food and trash out because it attracts wildlife.

2. Don’t Get too Close to Wildlife

black bear walking on road

Did you know that feeding, approaching, or disturbing park wildlife is prohibited? Cades Cove is home to a wide variety of wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, black bears, turkeys, and many others. Spotting wildlife is much easier in this area of the park simply because of the lack of dense forest. Getting close to these animals is discouraged to keep you and the other visitors in the cove safe. Instead, bring a pair of binoculars so that you can admire them from afar.

3. Don’t Let Your Pup Run Through the Cove

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, pets are allowed in campgrounds, picnic areas, and along roads, but must be kept on a leash at all times. You can certainly take them for a drive along the loop road. However, they aren’t allowed to roam around with you in Cades Cove. This rule is in place for you and your pup’s safety as well as the safety of other visitors and the wildlife that lives in the cove.

4. Don’t Park on the Loop Road

Cades Cove Loop RoadThis 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove and offers visitors the opportunity to sightsee from their vehicle. There are various pull outs that you can use to park your car if you’d like to stop and take pictures. You should avoid parking in the road itself as a courtesy to other motorists who are trying to enjoy the scenery. If you haven’t been on the Cades Cove Loop Road before, be sure to learn more about what to expect when you visit for the first time.

5. Don’t Forget to Take Some Pictures

Cades Cove is rich in history and scenic views, so naturally you’ll want to take some pictures! You’ll have the chance to explore historic cabins, churches and a grist mill during your visit. Many people take pictures in front of the John Oliver cabin, which is one of the oldest man-made structures in the park! There are also gorgeous mountain views that make the perfect backdrop for any photo.

Do yourself a favor and avoid these 5 simple things so that you can have a great experience. Now that you know what not to do, be sure to take a look at the things you should do when you visit Cades Cove!

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