Posted by Darryl Payne in Smoky Mountains
It's one of the most visited sites in the nation's most visited national park. Cades Cove embodies all the best that Great Smoky Mountains National Park has to offer for beauty and historical value. A journey down the 11-mile, one-way road that loops its way around the cove should be added to the top of your list of things to do when visiting the Smokies.
Rolling pastures are framed on all sides by foothills or towering peaks. Grazing cattle, roaming deer, and the glory of the fall colors paint a pastoral image of Smoky Mountain beauty.
A must-stop point of interest is the Cable Mill area, which features the Cades Cove Visitor Center and several remaining structures of pioneer life, such as a corn mill, sorghum mill and blacksmith shop. As you travel the loop, stop and explore the homesteads of early settlers like Elijah Oliver and John Cable, as well as some of the small country churches that were so important in the lives of the cove's residents. Even the church cemeteries document life and death in the Smokies before the National Park was created.
Be sure to make time for trail hiking to explore the natural surroundings. At the loop's midpoint you'll find the trailhead to Abrams Falls, and just past the Cable Mill area, look for the Cades Cove Nature Trail. Both hiking trails are worth the effort. Don't hesitate to ask about trails and activities from the park rangers at the visitor center, since they are official experts on the details The Cove's paved road is ideal for both driving and biking. Inquire about biking the loop road when it is closed to auto traffic.
Before visiting the Smokies, find expert advice for your travel plans at Smoky Mountain Travel Guide, and use our rental cabin guide to help you book topnotch accommodations that are just miles from the National Park and the Cades Cove entrance.
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