The Cades Cove Loop Road is one of the most popular places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Cades Cove Loop Road circles the cove so drivers have a chance to see all of the historic points along the way. If you plan to go driving through Cades Cove, there’s a few things you need to know about Cades Cove hours, so you can choose the best time to visit.
Cades Cove Loop Road
The Cades Cove Loop Road is a scenic roadway that stretches 11-miles in total around the secluded area. Along this drive, you will find historic home sites, rolling mountain views and acres upon acres of open fields.
The Cades Cove Loop Road is open daily from Sunrise to Sunset.
Cades Cove Hours
Cades Cove is open year round from sunrise to sunset, weather permitting. When you reach the halfway point of the loop road, you will find the Cades Cove Visitor Center. This is where you and your family or group and stop by and pick up a souvenir from your experience in this scenic area.
The Cades Cove Loop Road is only closed on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, from May through September, until 10 a.m. This allows bicyclists and pedestrians a few hours at the Cove without vehicles.
Cades Cove Hours for the Visitor Center
- January- 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
- February- 9 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.
- March- 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.
- April- 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.
- May- July- 9 a.m.- 7:30 p.m.
- August- 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.
- September- October- 9 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.
- November- 9 a.m.- 5:30 p.m
- December- 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Cades Cove Picnic Area
The Cades Cove Picnic area is open year round. There’s not a pavilion, but there’s over 80 spots for picnicking. All this driving around or biking can really build up an appetite. That is why you are probably curious to discover hours of operation for the Cades Cove picnic area. Here, you and your family or loved ones can enjoy a delicious meal while surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of the area.
- May 1- August 31: Sunrise to 8 p.m.
- September 1- April 30: Sunrise to Sunset
Best Times to View Cades Cove Wildlife
We know one of the main reasons you enjoy Cades Cove is because there is so much wildlife in that area of the national park. It can be difficult to see wildlife in many areas of the park due to the dense forests, but Cades Cove is a wide open space, so it’s easier to see animals.
The best hours for wildlife viewing really depend on the types of animals you want to see. Many animals are most active in the evenings, so there’s usually a good amount of wildlife wandering around at night.
We recommend getting up and making your way to Cades Cove early in the morning for the best chances to see wildlife. Cades Cove can be a pretty busy place, especially in the summer months. When it gets really busy, animals tend to stay somewhat hidden, so it’s a good idea to arrive a little early to sit and watch for the animals. If you plan to have a picnic in the area, that’s another great way to see the animals. Just remember to keep all of our animals in the national park safe by removing your garbage.
Cades Cove Riding Stables
Lastly, if you want a unique way to explore Cades Cove, we suggest you experience the area from horseback with the help from our friends at the Cades Cove Riding Stables. Here, the friendly staff will be more than happy to take you on a relaxed guided tour of the area just like the early settlers once explored.
The trail rides take about an hour to complete. During the journey, you will explore mountain streams, shady forest and tons of majestic scenery. If horseback riding isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you can always experience one of their guided hayrides or carriage rides during your visit.
The Cades Cove Riding Stables is open from 9 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., early-March through the end of November. The times for the guided hayrides and carriage rides vary by date.