horses in Cades Cove

Where Is Cades Cove?

Cades Cove during the fall
August 18, 2015

Considered to be one of the more popular areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cades Cove is a 6,800-acre valley surrounded by mountains and natural beauty. Here, you and your family or group can expect to find a variety of historic homesites, churches, and rustic buildings, all along the 11-mile loop road that surrounds the cove. Not to mention, there is also an abundance of wildlife that calls this area home you have a good chance of seeing depending on what time of day you visit.

Even though over 2 million visitors frequent this area every year, one of the biggest questions we are asked about this scenic spot is, “Where is Cades Cove?” To answer this question for you, we have compiled directions from both Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge to help you explore this beloved area during your next trip!

From Gatlinburg

View of Country road on way to finding where is Cades Cove

Cades Cove is located just over an hour and a half from Gatlinburg. However, the time flies by once you are en route to the scenic area because you will drive passed a ton of scenic views along the way as you cut through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

(See Also: Your Complete Guide to Cades Cove History)

There are also many pull-offs along the route you can use to stop and take pictures with your family and group. This is a great start to your outdoor adventure.

Directions to Cades Cove from Gatlinburg:

  • From The Parkway/Highway 441, turn right onto Little River Road just passed the Sugarlands Visitor Center. Keep in mind, this road is curvy, and you will want to use caution as you drive.
  • Follow signs on this road to Cades Cove. Little River Road eventually turns into Laurel Creek Road just passed the intersection with Lamar Alexander Parkway near Townsend.
  • When you arrive at the Cades Cove Loop Road, take a right and enjoy!

From Pigeon Forge

View of Cades Cove at sunrise

If you are traveling to Cades Cove from Pigeon Forge, you have two options for directions you can take. You can either follow the route through Gatlinburg as we just described, or you can go on an adventure and cut through Wears Valley and Townsend, TN on your way to find where is Cades Cove.

Directions to Cades Cove from Pigeon Forge:

  • From the Parkway, head west on Wears Valley Road (Traffic Light #3). Stay on this road for roughly 17 miles.
  • Wears Valley Rd. dead-ends into East Lamar Alexander Parkway. When it does, turn right and follow this route into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once you enter the park, the road turns into Townsend Entrance Rd.
  • The end of Townsend Entrance Rd. forks to form both Little River Gorge Rd. (East) and Laurel Creek Rd. (West). Take the Laurel Creek Rd. option at the split and continue through the park for 16 miles.
  • The Cades Cove Loop Road will be on your left.

In total, the route to Cades Cove from Pigeon Forge is about an hour and a half, pending traffic and scenic stops. During this drive, you will pass several unique locally-owned shops, antique stores, restaurants, and more! Not to mention, you will also get to enjoy a variety of beautiful and breathtaking nature views along the way. When you arrive, you won’t want to miss these 6 amazing things to do in Cades Cove!

If you still need help navigating where is Cades Cove during your next trip, use the map below!

Learn more about Cades Cove hours before you visit!

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