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The Appalachian Lodge
Cades Cove road in the fall

There are so many places to enjoy the beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when you come to visit, but one of the most popular spots by far is Cades Cove. This destination at the park gives visitors the chance to see gorgeous sights, explore the park, and more. If you’re considering taking a trip over to Cades Cove next time you’re in the Smoky Mountains, you won’t want to miss out on some of these awesome activities you can enjoy! Here are some of the best fun things to do when you visit Cades Cove:

1. Drive the Scenic Loop

One of the most popular ways to enjoy Cades Cove is by driving along the scenic one-way 11-mile loop road that winds through this section of the park. This road offers convenient access to lots of spots throughout Cades Cove and also allows visitors to take in the natural beauty of the area while staying in the comfort of their vehicles. And of course, there are plenty of designated spots for vehicles to pull off the road so that visitors can wander and explore the park on foot!

2. Go for Hikes

person looking out at mountains cades coveThere are lots of great hiking opportunities throughout Cades Cove, allowing visitors to pull off the loop road and explore the area on foot. Those looking for a short hike will enjoy the Cades Cove Nature Trail, while visitors looking for longer adventures can check out hikes like the trails to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top. Just make sure to bring good hiking shoes and plenty of water so that you can make the most of your time hiking in Cades Cove!

3. Explore Historic Buildings

Another popular activity at Cades Cove is exploring the historic buildings that are located in this section of the park. For instance, the John Oliver cabin dates back to the early 1800s and offers visitors a glimpse of what life was like for settlers of the area back in those times. There are plenty of other historic sites located throughout the park, such as other cabins and a church, making this a must-visit for any history buffs!

4. Spot Wildlife

black bear in cades coveCades Cove has relatively open lines of sight, which makes it a popular choice for those looking to spot local wildlife during their visit. Keep your eyes peeled as you explore this section of the park and you might spot some of the native wildlife that calls Cades Cove home, such as white-tailed deer and black bears! Just remember to follow all safety rules when it comes to viewing wildlife, such as staying at least 50 yards away at all times and making sure to leave their natural habitat undisturbed. By following these rules, you can help preserve the native wildlife for others to enjoy!

5. Discover the Gorgeous Waterfall

Another popular activity at Cades Cove is visiting Abrams Falls, located about halfway through the loop road. There is a 2.5-mile trail that leads from the loop road to Abrams Falls, which allows for a pleasant hike to this scenic spot. If you’re looking for somewhere to take a photo during your visit to Cades Cove, it’s hard to find a much better option than Abrams Falls!

When you visit Cades Cove and enjoy some of these great activities, you’ll be able to explore the beauty of the Smoky Mountains and create lasting memories. And if you’re looking for somewhere to stay during your next vacation to the Smokies, look no further than our hotel in Gatlinburg. Browse our lodging options and start planning your next getaway today — we can’t wait to welcome you!