3,766 votes

Cades Cove Campground

10042 Campground Dr, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Townsend, Tennessee 37882 USA

Free to Visit
Open Now
Fri 9a-5p
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair
  • Public
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“discover the rich history of this verdant valley”

Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible. The valley has a rich history. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park. Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. An inexpensive self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the road provides in-depth information about the buildings and the people who built and used them. An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area's trails. Traffic is heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round. While driving the loop road, please be courteous to other visitors and use pullouts when stopping to enjoy the scenery or view wildlife. Cades Cove is 6,800-acres nestled in a beautiful isolated valley located in the East Tennessee section of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is a representative sample of this Park's natural and cultural history as well as its recreational opportunities. Open fields lap against 5,500-foot mountain peaks. With more than 2.5 million visitors annually, it is the Park's most popular destination. Most people come to Cades Cove to observe the wildlife such as white-tailed deer, black bear, raccoon, turkeys, woodchucks, and other animals. Cades Cove offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park.

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Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
April 10, 2015
Rated 4.0

I also enjoyed Cades Cove. There are some great scenic views available where you can pull over to take pictures... I, however wasn't particularly interested in getting out at all of the settlement stops. There's old chuches and dwellings which you can see from the road, and that was fine for me. I went early April and if you go early in the morning around 9 or 10 you won't hit traffic, however around 12 you will see an increase. Must do Abrams Falls

3 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
October 21, 2014
Rated 4.0

Very beautiful.. But as others have said, busy even if it's not a weekend during fall season. Expect to take your time even if you weren't planning on making somewhat of a day of it. Bring a camera, lots of great pics if you have some patients to get the shot in high traffic areas

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 72 Reviews
  • 34 Helpful
September 30, 2014
Rated 4.0

We really enjoyed the drive through Cades Cove. Absolutely beautiful, lots of places to stop and observe both nature and settlements (churches, cabins).

But it could really use two lanes. One slow driver on the 1 lane loop means you could add hours on to your trip. And from what I hear, it's pretty much always busy.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 26 Reviews
  • 15 Helpful
May 28, 2014
Rated 4.0

I went in March while the weather was still slightly chilly and there was heavy traffic when I went as well. Expect to spend most of the day there. Still, I had a wonderful time though. The place is absolutely beautiful and full of history. Lots of trails for hiking, biking, etc. Seen plenty of wildlife as well (although I was a little disappointed I didn't get to see a bear). Perfect place for a nature/history lover.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 6 Helpful
March 06, 2014

It's a wonderful place. Visited in early march so traffic was low but in summer it is a busy place I'd imagine, because it is beautiful and well worth the drive. Hiked to both Abrams and Laurel falls, Laurel was 45 mins round trip (paved so strollers are common) Abrams falls took about 2 hours round trip and less crowded.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 11 Reviews
  • 12 Helpful
September 08, 2014

Step back in time, and ready yourself for a beautiful drive and historic information.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 1 Helpful
February 25, 2014

Very heavy traffic, so take your time. Worth the visit of you love God's creation.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 18 Reviews
  • 2 Helpful
October 02, 2020
Rated 5.0

We stayed at cafes cove 2 nights and it was great. Many easy walking paths to choose from, kids did the 11 mile bike loop on the bikes only Wednesday. Saw turkey, deer and one bear. Highly recommend!

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Reviewed by

  • 27 Reviews
  • 8 Helpful
July 04, 2019
Rated 5.0

Fantastic place and so glad we went. We went on a Tuesday and they allow the 11 mile loop to be driven that day. Other days the road is for walking or biking only...no cars which would also be great. The history and information was great. Places well preserved for a great feel for life then. Lots of hiking trails for alternatives for those who want more than a walk back in time. Overall fantastic and beautiful.

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Reviewed by
Anna Hider

  • Blogger
  • 1,414 Reviews
  • 613 Helpful
March 17, 2019
Rated 5.0

Way bigger than I was expecting! Definitely can be frustrating with all the other cars, but if anyone is being annoying just pull over at a pull off and let them get ahead of you. Roll down the windows and listen to the frogs. And keep eyes peeled for wildlife!

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Cades Cove Campground

10042 Campground Dr
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Townsend, Tennessee
37882 USA


Open now until 5:00 pm
  • Sun - Sat: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

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