Cades Cove - Smoky Mountains National Park Auto Tour. Cades Cove Loop features chances to see wildlife includin bear, deer, turkey, and more including old cabins, homesteads, barns, and mountain views .
Jay Fradd - Smoky Mountain Realtor servicing Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Wears Valley, Townsend, Sevierville, Cosby, and the Smokies!
Cades Cove Loop - Smoky Mountains Auto Tour

View of Cades Cove from Sparks LaneCades Cove is one of the best places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to see wildlife. While traveling the eleven mile loop, Jay has seen bears, deer, coyote, fox, and turkeys. The attraction to the 6,800 acre valley known as Cades Cove is not only the animals, but the picturesque scenery and old homesteads. During trips in the summer chances are fairly high you will see a bear and its cubs. Over several trips in the summer, Jay has seen bears up in trees, roaming in the pastures near Sparks Lane, and even right next to the old Tipton Homestead. When driving the loop and there is wildlife ahead, traffic sometime comes to a standstill. Usually this is a "bear-jam" as onlookers stop to take pictures and view with binoculars. The deer in the area are plentiful. It is common when driving the loop to see between 40 and 100 deer in the fields, pastures, and woods. The best time to see wildlife in Cades Cove is right after sunrise or a little prior to sunset. For the most part, drivers are courteous when driving the loop by pulling off to the side of the road, allowing other motorists to pass. The loop itself is a one-way road with a couple two way roads (Sparks Lane & Hyatt Lane) that cut from one end of the loop to the other should you want to exit.

To view a slideshow of pictures Jay has taken from Cades Cove including bear, deer, fox, turkey, many of the old cabin homesteads, and the scenery please click here.

Cades Cove - Primitive Baptist Church View From Rich Mountain Road. Photo By Jay Fradd - Smoky Mountain Realtor

Points of interest and landmarks in Cades Cove

Please Click The Cabin or Road below for a Google Map Including Aerial Photo & Topography!

  1. Loop road entrance: The Auto tour book is available at the orientation shelter. It is sometimes staffed with rangers who can provide more information about the cove.
  2. Sparks Lane: is a short-cut out of the one-way loop road back to the entrance.
  3. John Oliver Place: A historic log home of one of the early settlers of the cove.
  4. Primitive Baptist Church: Historic church established in 1827. The current building was built in 1887.
  5. Methodist Church: Historic church established in the 1820s. The current building was built in 1902.
  6. Hyatt Lane: Another two-way road that can provide a short-cut back to the entrance.
  7. Missionary Baptist Church: Started in 1839 from a group that split from the Primitive Baptist Church over the issue of missionary work.
  8. Rich Mountain Road: One-way road leading out of the cove which provides scenic views.
  9. Cooper Road Trail: Hiking trail that was once part of an Indian trail.
  10. Elijah Oliver Place: Historic log house.
  11. Mill Area and Visitor's Center: Walking tour with grist mill and several other historic buildings. Restrooms and visitor center also available.
  12. Henry Whitehead Place: Historic sawed log house.
  13. Cades Cove Nature Trail: Short hiking trail.
  14. Hyatt Lane: Two-way road that can be used to repeat a portion of the loop.
  15. Dan Lawson Place: Historic house built in 1856.
  16. Tipton Place: Historic house built in the 1870s.
  17. Carter Shields Cabin: Historic Cabin.
  18. Sparks Lane: Two-way road that can be used to repeat most of the loop.
    Source for above landmarks (not including Google Links & GPS Coordinates):

View Cades Cove Auto Loop Map (pdf - 742kb)

Bike Riding in Cades Cove

On Wednesday and Saturday mornings from May through September, Cades Cove Loop Road is open only to bicyclists, walkers, and concession-operated hay wagons. Automobiles are prohibited on the loop road on these mornings until 10:00 a.m. Bikes may be rented at the Cades Cove Store near the campground at a rate per hour.

Camping in Cades Cove

Camping is allowed in Cades Cove. The campground consists of 159 campsites including some with wheelchair accessibility. The sites at the campground can accomodate trailers and RV's up to 40 feet. The campground includes running water and toilets, but does not have showers. At the campsites, there are picnic tables, firerings, and lantern hangers. When staying in Cades Cove do not store food in your tent as bears are common in Cades Cove. Firewood from the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, and New York can not be brought into the National Park. The USDA has quarantined firewood from these states to prevent the spread of higly destructive insects that may be living in the wood.

Click For Campground Map

Click To Reserve A Campsite in Cades Cove

Wildlife in Cades Cove

Deer In Cades CoveCades Cove is the most likely place you will find a bear in the Smoky Mountains National Park. Other types of wildlife you may encounter are:

  • Bear
  • Deer
  • Turkey
  • Fox
  • Coyote
  • Ground Hogs
  • Salamanders (30 different species in the Smokies)
  • Various Other Rodents


Rich Mountain Road Views

Cades Cove - View From Rich Mountain Road of the Primitive Baptist ChurchDuring your travels along the loop you will come upon Rich Mountain Rd. on your right (next to the Missionary Baptist Church). This road is a seven mile one way road that will take you into Townsend, TN. Please note this road is gravel with many switchback curves and takes quite a long time to travel - approximately one hour. Rich Mountain Road was built in the 1820s following an old Indian trace into Cades Cove. Points of interest include a stand of shagbark hickory, a species rarely found in the Smoky Mountains. One of the most popular location for photographs in the Smoky Mountains is from Rich Mountain Road. In the early travels on your right is a clearing where views can be seen of Thunderhead Mountain and the Primitive Baptist Church (see photo at left). Jay has also seen quite a bit of wildlife on this road including two bears, a fox, and coyote. Once you have driven past the view of the Primitive Baptist Church, there are not many views of interest as you make your way toward Townsend. This road is closed during the winter.

Abrams Falls

Abrams Falls is a 5 mile roundtrip hike of easy to moderate difficulty. The trailhead is located in the Cades Cove Loop. The falls is a wide falls about 20 foot tall plunging into a deep pool. This pool area is popular with swimmers in the summer and fisherman whenever people are not around. The hike is summarized well from another website:

Abrams Falls - Great Smoky Mountains"This creek is named for Cherokee Chief Abram, who once lived on land now submerged under Lake Chilhowee, located on the western corner of the park. The trail starts by crossing a large footbridge over Abrams Creek. The stream here is a popular foot-cooler. To the right after the footbridge is a side trail to the Elijah Oliver house. Elijah Oliver was the son of the first white settler in Cades Cove in 1818, John Oliver. Another family dwelling, known as the John Oliver House, is the first house you see as you start the loop road.

The trail begins to climb gradually to reach a height above the stream, then turns a corner to the right and descends again to follow the river. The trail stays level for a considerable distance. In this stretch children frequently depart the trail to enjoy the water while their parents wait patiently. The trail then climbs toward a rocky point of Cades Sandstone at the top of Arbutus Ridge, and switches back to the right and descends again to Abrams Creek. It switches back again to the left over a side creek on a log bridge and curves right to follow the creek again for a flat stretch.

The trail then makes a final climb above Abrams Creek. It curves right at a point where you can hear the falls below you, then descends steeply to another log bridge over Wilson Branch. After crossing this bridge, the trail curves left to follow the creek on the other side. In a very short distance, another bridge appears to the left. Cross this bridge to follow the short spur trail to the 20-foot Abrams Falls. The pool at its base is 100 feet across and is a popular playground for children.

Be careful in the water at Abrams Falls because the rocks are extremely slippery, and it is easy enough to catch the edge of a rock in a fall. Parents should probably escort small children across the faster part of the stream (and the slicker rocks) to the shallow sand bar at the center of the pool."

Fishing in Cades Cove

Fishing Abrams Creek in the Smoky Mountains National ParkOne of the best places in the entire Smoky Mountains National Park to fish is Abrams Creek which flows through Cades Cove. Access to the prime fishing portions of Abrams Creek can be reached via the Abrams Falls trailhead in Cades Cove or by taking the Foothills Parkway in Walland. The "horseshoe" bend in Abrams Creek is one of the most prolific areas for fishing in the Smokies. Jay has fished Abrams Creek by entering from both Cades Cove and from the Foothills Parkway. If you choose the Foothills Parkway portion it is a long hike to get to the trout waters. The trail for Abrams Falls leads away from Abrams Creek in a lot of places, so hiking through thick underbrush is necessary to gain access to Abrams Creek.


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Cades Cove Information Sources

Cades Cove Photo Gallery (Jay Fradd)

Cades Cove Preservation Association

Cades Cove Auto Loop Tour

Cades Cove (Smoky Mtns. National Park Site)

Reserve Campsite At Cades Cove

Bike Riding in Cades Cove

Cades Cove Models (Sculptures)

Cades Cove (Wikipedia)

Cades Cove Virtual Tour (1,400 Photos)

Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church

Cades Cove Historical Information

Cades Cove Additional History

Brief History Of Cades Cove

Cades Cove Planning (Preservation)

Cades Cove Guide Information

Cades Cove Geology Information

Cades Cove Geology Photos

Cades Cove Memories (Newspaper)

Cades Cove Visitor Info

Geology Of Cades Cove

Cades Cove (TN Encyclopedia)

Cades Cove (National Geographic)

Bill Lea (Cades Cove Photographer)

Article About Bill Lea (Knox Sentinal)

Bill Lea Feature Article

Ruel Tafalla's Cades Cove Photography

Chris Nicholson Cades Cove Photographer

Mike & Valerie Maples Photography

Cindy Nowlin Cades Cove Photography

Cades Cove Photos & Information

Cades Cove Controlled Burn Photo

Cades Cove TN Detailed History

Cades Cove Families

Cades Cove 1850 Census

Cades Cove Geneology

Cades Cove Remnants Found

Cades Cove Schools

Cades Cove's Chestnut Flats

Books About Cades Cove

Cades Cove: The Life And Death of a Southern Appalachian Community

Durwood Dunn - Cades Cove: The Life and Death of a Southern Appalachian Community

Cades Cove: Window To A Secret World

Cades Cove - Window To A Secret World - By Bill Lea

The Cades Cove Story by Randolph Shields

The Cades Cove Story by Randolph Shields

Cades Cove - A Place in Appalachia

Cades Cove - A Place In Appalachia

Cades Cove - The Dream Of The Smoky Mountains

Cades Cove - The Dream Of THhe Smoky Mountains - Photos By Bill Lea

Legends of Cades Cove and the Smokies Beyond (by Vic Weals)

Legends Of Cades Cove and the Smokies Beyond

Directions From Gatlinburg

Directions From Pigeon Forge

Directions From Maryville

Directions From Cherokee, NC

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