beautiful, sheltered valley is a mixture of forests, meadows, and
an outdoor museum of pioneer life. Remnants of a more primitive
way of life still exists in Cades Cove. Everyone can enjoy the
Cove, weather by car, on foot, by horseback, or bicycle. Spring,
summer, fall or winter, you will not want to miss Cades Cove while
traveling through the Smokies.
Without leaving your car, you may drive the eleven-mile, one-way, paved Loop
Road. Deer and wild turkeys are frequently seen on this drive, especially in
the early morning or late afternoon. Scenery along the way includes three churches
and cemeteries which once served residents of Cove, the Cable Mill area, and
several pioneer cabins and houses which have been preserved.
Cable Mill is a water-powered grist mill which demonstrates the grinding of corn
into meal. There is a Visitor Center at the site with restroom facilities. We
recommend that as you enter Cades Cove, you stop and purchase a copy of the auto
tour booklet published by the Great Smoky Mountain Natural History Association.
It is available in a stand by the roadside at the beginning of the loop road
and also at the Ranger's Station. The cost is about $1.00.
For touring Cades Cove at a more leisurely pace, bicycles may be rented (April
through October) at the Cades Cove bike shop. On Saturdays from June through
Labor Day, the Loop Road is closed to autos, and it is bicycles only from sunrise
until 10 a.m.
Once the quickest mode of transportation in the mountains, you may rent horses
by the hour at the Cades Cove Riding Stables. Guides will take you along cool,
wooded trails, over small mountain brooks, and up to vistas of trees and wildflowers.
A fun and unusual way to see Cades Cove is from the back of a hay wagon from
April through October. Departing from the Cades Cove Stables, the hayrides are
available beginning at 6 p.m. Groups of 15 or more may reserve hay wagon for
day trips beginning as early as 10 a.m.
Trails and Hiking
Only on foot can one really get a taste of the wilderness that the pioneers fought
, depended on for raw materials, and most of all, loved. Abrams Falls, one of
the largest waterfalls in the National Park, is reached only a 5 mile (round
trip) hike. Longer trails to Gregory Bald or Spence Field are available for more
Nature lovers can take the 1/3-mile self guided nature trail located half-mile
behind the Cable Mill parking area on the Loop Road.
The picnic area is located near the campground . Grills and tables are provided,
or you may pack a lunch and eat along a trail in the area.