The Ultimate Guide to Cades Cove Throughout the Seasons

Scenic road in Cades Cove that visitors can enjoy on a Smoky Mountain vacation.
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Cades Cove is picture-perfect all year long. No matter what time you visit, you are guaranteed to see breathtaking scenery. Each season brings its own beauty to the area, from snow-covered trees in the winter to wildflowers in the spring. To help you decide what time to plan your visit to Cades Cove, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to Cades Cove throughout the seasons.

Winter

road in cades cove during winterWhen the weather gets colder, Cades Cove turns into a winter wonderland! You will have gorgeous views of the snow-covered mountains, the chance to see wildlife, and can take a look at all the historic sites. The Cades Cove Loop Road provides an even more breathtaking sight during the winter. The road is open daily, weather permitting, so be sure to check for road closures before making the trip if the weather is bad! A popular thing to do in Cades Cove during the winter is go hiking. One of the best spots to hike in Cades Cove is Abrams Falls. If it’s cold enough in the winter, you’ll be able to see the 20-foot-waterfall frozen! You never know what beautiful view awaits you in Cades Cove during the winter season.

Spring

wildflowers in gregory baldSpringtime in Cades Cove brings out gorgeous blooming wildflowers and wildlife! It’s the perfect season to spend time outside exploring the area. You can go for a hike, pack a nice picnic lunch, or even go horseback riding! If you plan to go hiking, check out these trails that make for great adventures during the spring:

Abrams Falls: The Abram Falls Trail is a 5-mile round-trip hike to a waterfall and back. While the waterfall is only 20 feet high, it’s one of the most powerful in the park and is a sight to see.

Gregory Bald: The Gregory Bald Trail is famous for its panoramic views of the Smoky Mountains. During the spring, enjoy views of the flame azaleas that bloom each year.

Rocky Top: The Rocky Top trailhead is right near the Cades Cove picnic area, so it’s a great idea to pack a picnic to enjoy before you start your adventure. You’ll see plenty of wildflowers during the spring, as well as mountainside views.

Summer

A group of horses grazing in Cades Cove.Summer is the best time to visit for those looking to explore Cades Cove on foot or by bike. The Cades Cove Loop Road can get crowded during the summer days, so a good way to avoid that traffic is to walk or ride a bike! From May through September, only foot and bicycle traffic is allowed on Cades Cove Loop Road until 10 a.m every Saturday and Wednesday. You can get an early start on exploring Cades Cove! Early morning is also one of the best times to spot wildlife because there are less people in the area. Find out more about the best times to view wildlife from our blog, “Where and When to Spot Your Favorite Smoky Mountain Wildlife.”

Fall

Cades Cove during fall seasonFall is another season that brings about stunning scenery in Cades Cove. When you think about fall, the first thing that comes to mind is the gorgeous color change that takes place mid-season. By October and November, the fiery reds, golden yellows and intense oranges cover the mountainside in a picture-perfect display unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Another reason visiting Cades Cove in the fall is so great is because of the cool temperatures. There is no better weather to spend time exploring the area! Wildlife is also abundant during the fall season. Part of this is because the animals are easier to spot once the leaves fall from the trees. You can see white-tailed deer, black bears, turkeys, coyotes and many other animals roaming around Cades Cove.

To put it simply, there is no bad time to visit Cades Cove! Learn more about the Cades Cove hours and start planning your trip.

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