"Cades Cove" Great Smoky Mountains National Park Things to Do Tip by sswagner

  Mill at Cades Cove
by sswagner

This large valley in the Smoky Mountain Range is one of the most popular places in the park. That means that it has advantages and disadvantages relative to other sites. The cove has a nice slow paced circular driving route that will take you through one of the most scenic areas of America. You will have a lot of opportunities to stop and get out of the car. Wildlife is always a possibility and there are several historic structures to see that will give the visitor an idea of what life was like in the old days. The Cades Cove visitor center has many buildings to explore including a mill. You will see homes, churches, and pastures in this valley. It is very photogenic.

The drawback to all of this is the popularity and the traffic. Try to avoid this on a weekend (I know, you may only have the weekend, just be advised and do not plan on seeing Cades Cove in a hurry). You will have people stopping in places that will block the road completely, and you will have some people driving at 3 miles per hour. Naturally, they will eventually have hundreds of cars behind them. If you come here during a crowded time, it will be a traffic jam. For this reason, I would recommend seeing this place on a weekday or first thing in the morning. This place is certainly worth seeing, but I am willing to bet that a lot of people become disenchanted with the park when they feel like the entire state of Tennessee has escorted them on this trip. Plan lots of time and be patient on this drive. Of course you will want to bring a camera.

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  • Updated Mar 6, 2005
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