Home Cades Cove Cades Cove For Dummies | Hours, Hacks, & Insider Tips

Cades Cove For Dummies | Hours, Hacks, & Insider Tips

by Corey Piccirillo

It’s no secret that Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. With its wide variety of recreational activities and breathtaking scenery, it’s easy to see why! The Cades Cove For Dummies guide will give you all the insider tips you need to have a great time. From the hours the park is open to how to avoid the crowds, we’ve covered you! So read on for everything you need to know about visiting Cades Cove.

Abrams Falls is a great sight all year round but especially in the Fall season!

Cades Cove For Dummies Overview

Cades Cove Gatlinburg is a beautiful, family-friendly spot in Tennessee. Cade’s Cove is in the 6,800-acre valley known for its picturesque landscapes. You can spend the day exploring the great outdoors, picnicking in the park, and hiking through the woods. The best part about this mountain valley is that it is entirely free! Here are some of the many things you can do and experience:

  • An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove – perfect for cycling & driving
  • There are two waterfalls in relatively close proximity to Cades Cove
  • Over 5 different hiking trails run off of Cades Cove Loop Road
  • Over 90 historic structures—houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools, and gristmills are along the loop

Cades Cove Historic Cabins in the Fall

Cades Cove For Dummies First-Timers Tips

#1 – The best time to see wildlife is early in the morning, so plan to arrive at the gate as soon as it opens at sunrise. You’ll have the added bonus of being one of the first cars on the road, so you won’t have to deal with traffic jams or crowds.

#2 – A good map is essential for any hike, but it’s especially important in Cades Cove. There are a lot of twists and turns on the loop road, and it’s easy to get turned around if you’re not paying attention. Pick up a map at one of the Visitor Centers when you enter the park, or download one before you go. 

#3 – There are several picnic areas located throughout Cades Cove where you can stop to relax and enjoy a meal with your family. A picnic lunch is a great way to save money on food and spend more time exploring the park. Just don’t forget to pack out all of your trash when you’re finished!

#4 – As you explore Cades Cove, you must be aware of your surroundings and cautious of wildlife. This is their home, after all! While black bears are typically shy around humans, they are still wild animals and should not be approached. If you do see a bear while visiting Cades Cove, please remember to give them space and do not try to feed them.

Cades Cove in the Fall season is picture perfect with wildlife

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to go to Cades Cove?

Late April to October is peak visiting time for the area. In spring you can expect to see beautiful spring flowers everywhere, and during the fall the mountains come alive with changing leaf colors. While you may not like traffic, fall is one of the best times to visit Cade Cove!

What are the most popular attractions in Cades Cove?

  1. Cades Cove Loop Road
  2. Abrams Falls
  3. Cable Mill
  4. Missionary Baptist Church
  5. Cantilever Barn
  6. John Oliver Cabin
  7. Valley View

How long should I spend in Cades Cove?

We recommend spending between a half a day to a full day minimum. Since there are over 90 historic buildings, waterfalls, hiking trails, scenic drives, and wildlife to view it’s best to take you time and enjoy the valley.

Does Cades Cove have a Visitor Center?

Yes – It’s located half-way around the loop road in the Cable Mill historic area (Open daily except Christmas). The Visitor Center also has restrooms and a bookstore.

What’s the best address to put into my GPS?

Cades Cove Loop Rd, Townsend, TN 37882

Cades Cove hours?

Open every day except Christmas Day. 

January 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
February 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
March 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
April – May 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
June – August 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
September – October 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
November 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
December 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Cades Cove For Dummies Overview

Exploration Lives In Gatlinburg!

If you’re looking for a great way to spend a day or two in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, be sure to include Cades Cove on your itinerary. With its wide variety of activities and stunning scenery, it’s easy to see why this park is one of the most popular destinations in the area. And don’t forget, when you book your trip with us, you’ll save money on every attraction and activity! Give us a call today and let us help you plan your perfect vacation.

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