Cades Cove is located in a valley in the Great Smoky Mountains. Before the park was established, it was inhabited by settlers . Now it is the most visited spot in the park with more than 2 million people visiting every year. So why do people flock to this place?
Many of the original structures remain in Cades Cove, most of which the public can access. Cabins, churches, barns and mills dot the landscape, and each one tells a unique story. Cemeteries are also located on the land, and the first settlers of the valley are buried in the park.
Hiking is the only reason I travel to Cades Cove. As a local, I’ve been to dozens of field trips to the park. Visiting during tourist season is equivalent to torture–unless I’m going hiking. Jake and I have hiked Abrams Falls every year around the date of our anniversary. It is one of my favorite hikes in the Smokies. Several gains in elevation give way to amazing views, and the trail ends at one of the most voluminous falls in the national park. Here is a list of all the trails in Cades Cove.
The Loop Tour
Cades Cove is 100% free to drive through. Eleven miles of wildlife and adventure await, or you can see it all from the comfort of your car. On several occasions, I’ve seen bears off the edge of the road, and I’ve never been to the cove without seeing dozens of deer. Just remember to respect the wildlife!