Cades Cove

Things To Do

Located just outside of Townsend, Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations for travelers to the Smokies. This picturesque valley is surrounded by an 11-mile loop and features multiple locations to view wildlife and enjoy the natural scenery.

Visitors can explore at their own pace by driving, biking, or walking the paved loop road. Numerous trails also run through the cove for those wishing to explore further. In addition to viewing multiple eighteenth and nineteenth-century buildings, many travelers catch glimpses of deer, fox, turkey, skunk, raccoon and other local wildlife.

Cades Cove Activities


Bicycles are a popular way to travel the loop road. From early May until late September, only bicycle and foot traffic is allowed on the road until 10:00 a.m. every Saturday and Wednesday. Bike rentals are available at Cades Cove Trading Company Cycling opportunities in Townsend →


According to the National Park Service, “numerous trails originate in the cove, including the five-mile roundtrip trail to Abrams Falls and the short Cades Cove Nature Trail. Longer hikes to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top also begin in the cove.” We recommend exploring with a friend, and always make sure to tell someone about your hiking plans. The National Park Service has tips and safety information for viewing wildlife.
Download a park trail map →
Hiking opportunities in Townsend →

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is permitted within the cove. Visitors can easily reserve a site at Anthony Creek Horse Camp by visiting Please make sure to check ahead of time and follow all rules and regulations for horseback riding during your visit. More about horseback riding →

Historic Buildings

Today, visitors can still explore the remains of buildings that were once integral to the workings of a thriving mountain community. Resources are available at the entrance to the loop to learn more about the buildings you can discover in the cove. The following are listed in the order they are approached along the Cades Cove Loop Road.

  • John Oliver Cabin
  • Primitive Baptist Church
  • Cades Cove Methodist Church
  • Cades Cove Missionary Baptist Church
  • Myers Barn
  • Elijah Oliver Place
  • John Cable Grist Mill
  • Becky Cable House
  • Henry Whitehead Cabin
  • Dan Lawson Place
  • Tipton Place
  • Carter Shields Cabin
Cades Cove Private Tours 123 Cromwell Drive (865) 898-8019
Riding Stables at Cades Cove National Park 10018 Campground Drive (865) 448-9009

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