Activities and Amenities
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.
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.
The Great Smoky Mountains are a hikers paradise and visitors to Cades Cove Campground love the 5-mile roundtrip hike to Abram Falls. From Cades Cove Loop Road, follow the signage at the turnoff for directions to the trailhead.
Although Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height. The long, deep pool at its base is very picturesque. The trail to the falls traverses pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek. The waterfall and creek are named for Cherokee Chief Abram or Abraham whose village once stood several miles downstream.
A nearby horse stable provides one-hour horseback rides as well as hay rides and carriage rides from March through October, offering recreational activities for the entire family.
Campers can also enjoy high-quality backcountry fishing in the cool waters of the countless streams and rivers that snake through the mountains, with trout available in abundance.
Cades Cove combines the feel of primitive camping with the modern convenience of flush toilets and drinking water. A camp store provides visitors with basic necessities as well as bike rentals.
Events like Interpretive Programs in the nearby amphitheater and Bicycle Only Days on the loop road provide visitors with a fun and unique experience.
The park holds one of the best collections of log buildings in the eastern United States. Over 90 historic structures, including houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools and grist mills, have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park, a few of which are easily accessible from the Cades Cove loop road.
Townsend, located about nine miles away, offers full service grocery stores and fuel.