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The Appalachian Lodge
cades cove sparks lane

If you’ve ever been to the Great Smoky Mountains then you know that every corner of the most visited national park has something special about it that captures the attention of guests time after time. However, there is one certain valley that is tucked away in the heart of the hills that seems to pull folks in like no other. Cades Cove is a destination that you can visit once and have it capture your heart for a lifetime. Here are 3 reasons why you should visit Cades Cove on your next trip to Gatlinburg, TN.

1. The Scenery

person looking out at mountains cades coveCades Cove is accessed by Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11-mile, one-way road that winds throughout what is easily one of the most beautiful valleys in America. The valley is surrounded by the stunning peaks and rolling ridges of the Great Smoky Mountains. The fields, historical cabins, primitive churches, flora, and fauna provide a never-ending, dream-like land to explore, as well as a glimpse into yesteryear. Today, Cades Cove is a favorite destination among locals and travelers from all of the world, but the valley was once home to a number of the former residents that left the land when the park was established. Before settlers arrived, members of the Cherokee tribe would travel through the valley to hunt. Now, all of the cove, its plant life, wildlife, structures, and more, are protected and cared for by the National Park Service and U.S. Interior.

2. The Wildlife

Cades Cove is well known for its abundant wildlife and is very popular among wildlife watchers and photographers. It’s not uncommon on a summer day to spot numerous black bears wandering the fields, deer enjoying the coolness of the morning, a few turkeys running around, a bobcat prowling about, or a coyote sneaking around as the sun goes down. Having the opportunity to view wildlife in their natural habitat is truly a blessing and adds an incredible amount of charm to Cades Cove. It is important when visiting Cades Cove that all guests respect the national park laws that are in place to protect both the wildlife and the people that visit the park every year. The park requires guests to keep 150 feet away from wildlife, to not disturb wildlife in any way, or feed them. Doing so can result in federal fines and charges. It also puts the beautiful residents of the park at risk for being relocated and often euthanized. Enjoy the beauty of Cades Cove but do so in a way that leaves no trace of your visit and therefore helps to provide the same experience for future generations. For tips and information on steps to take if you encounter a black bear while visiting the Smokies, visit www.BearWise.org.

3. The Hiking Trails

bikes in cades coveOne of the best ways to experience all that Cades Cove has to offer is to step outside of your vehicle and either travel Cades Cove Loop Road on foot or bike, and hike the trails in the area. One of the most popular hikes in the area is the Abrams Falls Trail that is located close to halfway around the loop. The trek to the waterfall and back is 5 miles round trip and is rated moderate in difficulty. Hiking the Rich Mountain Loop is a great way to step away from the crowds, experience time in the forest, and take in solitude for a while. Guests can also access the Cades Cove Nature Trail, Gregory Ridge Trail when Forge Creek Road is open, and the Anthony Creek Trailhead is located in the picnic area. In 2021 Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to all vehicles every Wednesday from May 5 through September 1, but can be accessed by foot or bicycle. Rental bikes are available at the Cades Cove Campground Store but you will want to arrive early if you hope to use one for the day.

Are you ready to visit the Great Smoky Mountains, experience Cades Cove, explore Gatlinburg, and take in all that the area has to offer?

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