Cades Cove is one of the most visited spots in the national park, and it’s easy to see why. With its scenic views and a wide variety of activities available, you can easily spend an entire day there. To help you plan for an unforgettable trip, here are 5 of the top things to do in Cades Cove with your family.
1. Have a Picnic
The picnic areas in Cades Cove are open year round, so you’ll always have a place to enjoy a tasty meal in the great outdoors. These areas close at 8:00 p.m. May 1 through Aug 31, and at sunset during other times of the year. Don’t worry about getting a spot to yourself either, because there 81 different sites to choose from! Just remember to pick up any leftovers and trash so that it doesn’t attract wildlife.
2. Go for a Hike
There are numerous hiking trails that start in Cades Cove, and you can explore them all! Some of them include the 5-mile roundtrip hike to Abrams Falls and the Cades Cove Nature Trail. If you’re in the mood for a longer hike, try Thunderhead Mountain or Rocky Top which also originate there.
3. Take a Ride on Your Bike
Another great way to experience the cove is by bike! The best times to go for a bike ride there are when the loop road is closed off to motor vehicles. This would be every Saturday and Wednesday morning until 10:00 a.m. from early May until late September. If you don’t want to bring your own bike or don’t have a bike to bring, you can always rent one from the Cades Cove Campground Store.
4. Enjoy a Scenic Drive
The Cades Cove Loop Road is 11 miles long and offers some spectacular mountain views! Along the way, you’ll also see several churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other restored structures. There are numerous pullouts along this road as well where you can park your car and hop out when you want to snap a few pictures or take in the scenery. This way, you can sightsee at your own pace without worrying about holding up any traffic.
5. Spot Smoky Mountain Wildlife
Most of the national park is covered in dense forest, making it somewhat of a challenge to spot Smoky Mountain wildlife. However, this isn’t a concern in the wide open valley of Cades Cove. It offers visitors some of the best opportunities to see white-tailed deer, elk, black bears, turkeys, and other animals. It’s a smart idea to bring a pair of binoculars for this activity as it allows you to see these amazing creatures from a safe distance.
Now that you know all about the fun things to do in Cades Cove with your family, it’s time to start planning your visit! Be sure to check out more information about the area so that you’ll always have somewhere great to visit in mind for each day that you’re in town.