Like most gems you’ll find in the Great Smoky Mountains, Cades Cove is located quite a bit off the beaten path in a secluded area of Eastern Tennessee. The scenic Great Smoky Mountains attraction is miles from what many would call “civilization”, yet millions of tourists make the trek to take in the beauty the scenic valley and historic district offers.
Cades Cove is rich in history, dating back thousands of years. The Smoky Mountain valley was a major post of abolitionist activity during the Civil War. Years later, the Smokey Mountain attraction became notorious for its moonshining activity. Although not the most glamourous history, Cades Cove has left that behind to become one of the most beautiful areas of the Smokey Mountains and a landmark in and of itself. Although consisting of a much larger area, the valley is predominantly made up of a one-way, 11-mile loop around the cove. During peak times, it can take several hours to complete the loop.
Although there are many landmarks in the Cades Cove area, the loop still remains the primary attraction. On many winter days you can see snow-capped peaks rising above the valley. As beautiful as the winter is in Cades Cove, your best time to visit is during the middle of fall when the leaves are changing colors. This is also one of the best times of season to see wildlife. Animals you’ll find during a typical visit include black bear, deer, wild turkey and foxes.
If you’re making a day of your visit to Cades Cove, then you can find numerous historic landmarks along the way. The national park service maintains several of the landmarks, including a couple different homes from the mid-1800s, a renovated bard built in the early 1900s and two churches.
Admissions to Cades Cove is free and a campground with over 150 sites are available for tents and RVs, starting at $20 per night.
Photo from Ben_D on Flickr.