While it is impossible to see everything in the Smokies in just one trip, one destination that should be at the top of everyone’s list is the Cades Cove Loop Road! This 11 mile road provides a scenic one-way trip through Cades Cove, a beautiful valley that is surrounded by mountains. However, the gorgeous scenery is just part of what makes this section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park so special! Here are the top 4 reasons why you need to drive the Cades Cove Loop Road:
1. Wildlife Viewing Opportunities
The Cades Cove Loop Road offers one of the best chances to spot wildlife in Great Smoky Mountains National Park! If you have your heart on seeing a black bear, there is a good possibility that you just might see one here! Sightings of white-tailed deer are quite common, and also keep your eyes peeled for coyotes, groundhogs, turkeys, raccoons and skunks. Bring a pair of binoculars along for the ride and be sure to scan the trees as many animals like to spend the day lounging in the branches!
2. Unique Historical Structures
Another reason why you need to drive the Cades Cove Loop Road is to explore the history of the Smokies! This area offers the widest variety of historic buildings within the national park, including several churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses and many other 18th and 19th structures that have been faithfully restored. The National Park Service maintains Cades Cove so that it appears as it did in the early days of the settlers. Be sure to pick up the self guided tour booklet at the entrance to the loop that provides information about the buildings and the people who lived here!
3. Fun Hiking Trails
There are multiple fun hiking trails that start along Cades Cove Loop Road, so you could spend the entire day visiting the area! One of the most popular hikes is the 5 mile round trip trail to Abrams Falls, a stunning 20 foot waterfall that is named for a Cherokee Chief whose village once stood a few miles downstream. If you prefer an easier hike, consider the Cades Cove Nature Trail that features the remains of a chestnut grove and lots of oaks, dogwoods, sourwoods and pine trees. Whether you are a group of experienced hikers or a family with young children, there is a hike for everyone in Cades Cove!
4. Wonderful Visitor Center
The Cades Cove Loop Road features the Cades Cove Visitor Center, a wonderful facility located around the midpoint of the road. This is not only a convenient place to stop to use the restrooms, but a chance to explore some fascinating indoor and outdoor exhibits of Southern Mountain life and culture! The Cades Cove Visitor Center also features a variety of ranger-led programs throughout the year, as well as a bookstore and shop with plenty of great information about the area!
Check out all of our cabins in the Smokies today to plan a fun vacation near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cades Cove Loop Road! We look forward to seeing you soon at Alpine Chalet Rentals!