Cades Cove is by no means a hidden secret in the Great Smoky Mountains… and there’s a good reason for that. It’s one of the most popular attractions in the mountains, and is accessible to people by cars, bikes, and walking. The 11-mile loop road encircling Cades Cove gives visitors the opportunity to access all different parts of the area, each offering something different. That being said, you can’t see Cades Cove in just a morning- spend a whole day!
Nestled in a valley and surrounded by mountains, Cades Cove has been a place of activity since Native Americans used the land for hunting and traveling purposes. In the early 19th century, settlers decided to make the area their home, remnants of which in terms of cabins, water mills, and even a church can still be seen on your day trip.
Outside of early settlements, Cades Cove is a beautiful area of the mountains with wildlife, wildflowers, and waterfalls. One way to spend your day is to pack a lunch, lace up your shoes, and go on one of the trails such as Abrams Falls or Ace Gap. Either of these trails will let you catch your breath in nature. Once you reach an overlook, a waterfall, or are just ready for a break, enjoy your picnic surrounded by natural beauty.
If you’re less of a hiker, you can take your car and enjoy the scenic drive on the Cades Cove loop, with ample opportunities to pause, get out, and enjoy your picnic, take photos, or just look.
Of course, a day at Cades Cove, however you choose to spend it, is best completed with a restful night at one of our Alpine Mountain Chalets cabins.