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Cades Cove is considered one of the most beautiful places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are scenic walking and biking trails, historic homes and churches in Cades Cove, as well as an abundance of lively animal life and natural scenery. Whether you have been there 100 times or this is your first, there is always something new and exciting just waiting to be discovered.
We at Visit My Smokies want to help visitors to our area discover the hidden beauty in Cades Cove, and that is why we have put together an extensive list of everything you and your family need to know before you travel to this little slice of heaven on Earth.
Bring snacks and something to drink
Like all the other areas in the national park, there is no concession area at Cades Cove. That being said, however, there is a relaxing picnic area in Cades Cove where you and your family can enjoy a nice picnic while you take in the gorgeous mountain scenery. All you have to do for this is to remember to pack a few snacks and something to drink to enjoy on your day in Cades Cove.
Trust us, you are going to want to take pictures–lots and lots of pictures! Save yourself the disappointment now of accidentally missing an opportunity of capturing one of your family’s new favorite memories by remembering to pack a camera when you visit Cades Cove. Not only are there breathtaking mountain views to take pictures of, but there are also many great photo opportunities for you and your family to pose in front of including the old grist mill near the visitors center. If you have a camera that can zoom in pretty far, you many want to consider packing that too. You never know what kind of wildlife you may find hiding up in a tree or in the tall grass in a field.
Wear comfortable shoes
Though you might be spending most of your time driving around the loop road when you visit Cades Cove, you will still want to remember to wear a comfortable pair of shoes for walking around and exploring the many old home sites and churches in the area. The road itself is paved if you decide to walk the loop, however not all the paths leading to the cabins and churches are paved.
Love to bike?
One of the best aspects of the 11-mile loop road at Cades Cove is that every Wednesday and Saturday until 10 a.m. the road is closed off from car traffic to give bicyclists, walkers and joggers a chance to enjoy the beautiful scenery while also sneaking in a little exercise to their vacation. Just as if you were in a car, the loop will take bikers past all the historic home sites and gorgeous mountain scenery that call the area home. The best part is when there are not as many cars around, visits have a higher chance of seeing more wildlife during their adventure.
Leave it as you found it
This really speaks for itself, but we do want to remind guests to Cades Cove and all the other parts of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that the only way to keep the park looking beautiful for generations to come is to remember to properly dispose of trash, and always be mindful of leaving the park as you found it. This also includes not picking or cutting down any of the plant life found in the park.
Yes, there is a really good chance you will see a bear or two while exploring Cades Cove. However, just because you see one this does not mean that you need to feed it. What keeps the bears safe is that they have little to no interactions with humans. You can take as many pictures of the animals as you would like, but please remember to keep a safe distance and do not disturb them.
Looking for other tips on how to prepare for a fun day exploring the Smoky Mountains with your family? Be sure to check out the Great Smoky Mountains National Park page on our website. There you will find tons of information on hiking, fishing, picnicking, camping, and all the other thrilling outdoor adventures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.