A trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is not complete without visiting Cades Cove Loop. Here is a Smoky Mountains vacation guide to learn more about this unique gorgeous attraction.
Home to natural wonders, wildlife and history, Cades Cove loop that offers one of the best scenic views in the Smoky Mountains. Never miss the chance to visit and experience this beautiful attraction in the Smokies.
Attracting over 2 million visitors each year, the Cades Cove loop is undoubtedly one of the most popular places to visit in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Offering such diverse wildlife, picturesque views, and well-preserved historic buildings, it’s easy to see why so many people get enamored by this area. This popular attraction is open year-round and beautiful to see at any time of the year.
Cades Cove Loop Road
Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains. And the loop road is an 11-mile one-way road that circles the valley.
It has a 20mph speed limit with several pull-offs and parking lots to stop and soak the gorgeous sights in the area.
Aside from breathtaking mountain views, visitors have the chance to see wildlife and native animals in their natural habitat. Historic landmarks also fill the area with some buildings dating back from the 1800s.
Driving the loop road allows you to enjoy scenic views all from the comfort of your vehicle, making it a great spot to visit when you’re touring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Cades Cove Loop Directions
Cades Cove is an easy find! There is only one entrance to Cades Cove Loop Road, which is from Laurel Creek Road.
From Gatlinburg: Follow the Main Parkway to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. When you pass the Sugarlands Visitor Center on your right, make a right turn onto Little River Road. You’ll remain on Little River Road for roughly 25 miles, where the road dead-ends into Cades Cove.
Usually, the Cades Cove loop is open to drivers from sun up to sun down. But note that from early May through late September, only bicycle and foot traffic are allowed on the Cades Cove Loop on Wednesdays.
Cades Cove Loop Hours
Cades Cove is open year-round from sunrise( from 8 am) to sunset, weather permitting. Located near the middle of the Loop Road is The Cades Cove Visitor Center which is open year-round, except for Christmas Day. And closing times may vary due to available sunlight.
Cades Cove Loop Drive
Planning a Cades Cove Loop drive tour? Here are all the things to see and do while embarking on this one-of-a-kind scenic tour.
- See picturesque views
- Spot some wildlife including deers, bears, turkeys, and raccoons
- See historic buildings like the Oliver Cabin, Primitive Baptist Church, Methodist Church, Cooper Road Trail, and Elijah Oliver Place
- Have a picnic!
- Hike various trails
Please do remember that this is one of the most visited places in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park so expect traffic and larger crowds.
The national park suggests that you a lot at least 2 hours to drive the road. If you want to stop at any of the historic sites, make sure you put in an extra hour or two. Want to hike the trails, you’ll also want to alot an extra time for that.
The busiest time in the national park is in the summer starting July to mid-August and during fall in October, most especially during the weekends. If you want fewer crowds, you’d want to avoid traveling during these times.
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Related Smoky Mountain Resources
- Pigeon Forge Vacation Guide
- Gatlinburg Vacation Guide
- 125+ Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains
- Great Smoky Mountains Family Vacations Facebook Group
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If you want to take a break for the usual sightseeing, you should check out these 10 Unique Things To Do In The Smoky Mountains that will surely surprise you!
And if you’re bringing the kids with you, here is a Smoky Mountains National Park Coloring Page to keep them busy when you’re stuck in traffic.