Are you going to visit Cades Cove while you’re in the Smoky Mountains? You definitely should! It’s one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for a variety of reasons. We want to share some of the top things to do in Cades Cove with you! Here are the top 4 things you should do while visiting Cades Cove:
1. Drive the Loop
If you’re going to go to Cades Cove while you’re in town, you have to drive the Loop. It’s an 11-mile long paved road that takes you through a beautiful valley surrounded by the mountains. Many people see wildlife in this area of the park more than anywhere else. There’s an abundance of wildflowers in the spring, and you can really get up close to the color changes in the fall. Even in the summer and winter, this area is beautiful. As you drive along the loop, you can actually get out of the car and explore a little bit. If you love pictures, you’ll definitely want to stop along the Loop and take some of the landscape, animals, and your family having a great time in the Smoky Mountains!
2. Hike Some Trails
There are quite a few trailheads that start in Cades Cove. A popular hiking trail is Abrams Falls. This trail is 5 miles roundtrip and considered moderate. You’ll walk through old forest growth and along Abrams Creek, when you finally see the falls. It stands at 20 feet tall, but this waterfall is impressive because of the amount of water that gushes over the rocks. Rich Mountain Loop is another popular trail. It is 8.3 miles roundtrip and considered moderate. A short but sweet trail is Cades Cove Nature Trail, where you can see all kinds of wildflowers in the spring. It’s also a great spot to stop and stretch your legs along the Loop!
3. Explore Historic Buildings
Cades Cove is known for historic buildings. Many of the buildings were originally built somewhere else then moved into the area. There are multiple homesteads you can explore, including the Oliver cabins. People love seeing the cantilevered barn, a uniquely built barn along the Loop. You’ll also find a smokehouse and three churches, along with graveyards. One of the coolest historical buildings is the grist mill, which actually still works!
4. Have a Picnic
Next to the Cades Cove campground is a picnic area, right before you reach the road to go on the Loop. Having a picnic in this area is a great activity for friends and family! You can pack a cooler with sandwich stuff or plan on grilling hot dogs on the charcoal grill. If you don’t want to do that, you could grab a ready-to-eat meal at one of the restaurants in Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg! After you eat, watch the kids play in the creek next to the picnic tables before you drive the Loop.
Your family will have so much fun exploring Cades Cove. Since you know what you want to do when you’re in town, you just need to start planning your trip! Browse our available Pigeon Forge hotel rooms and book one today!