Cades Cove
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A scenic valley filled with remnants of the old American pioneers.
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  • Sharon
    Pigeon Forge, Tennessee9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Could be a ride to remember. Check it out.
    We go here every time we come. We came a little before 7 and they just must have released the beautiful horses that came running thru the field. We saw turkeys. One guy got his feathers in a huff. Beautiful owl sitting in a tree. 2 Ravens came and sat on a post about 2 feet from my car window, while we were on a pull off. Saw 2 bears in the fields. Saw some deer. Group of young bucks came by. We picked a great time. Not too busy. Trees were beautiful and full. You need to go 10 mph and only pull off where all 4 tires are off the road. We learned that the hard way.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 26, 2023
  • Laurie J
    14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    You don’t want to miss this!
    I highly recommend driving the Cades Cove loop when visiting the smokies. The views of the mountains are breathtaking and if you’re lucky, you will catch a glimpse of a black bear or two. Be prepared for a long drive taking about 2-4 hours to complete the loop. Be courteous of others and be prepared for long stops especially if a bear is spotted. There are plenty of pull off spots for photos with the most gorgeous backdrop of the Smoky Mountains. This is a must do in my opinion!
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 1, 2023
  • Wayne D
    25 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Plenty of Bears to see
    What an amazing experience! After a year battling Breast Cancer my wife just wanted to take a break and come to the Smokey's in hopes of seeing a live Black Bear. Well Cade's Cove did not disappoint. We were able to see many momma's with cubs, and other wildlife as well. Close up as many passed us by. We seen a total of 11 bears inside the park as well as a couple outside in the nearby areas. I will forever remember this trip with my love.
    Hey waynedS9889SU, we are grateful and appreciate the time you took to leave us a five-star review. We are glad that you enjoyed your experience sightseeing at Cades Cove. If you ever need anything, please don't hesitate to reach out to our team. It was a pleasure to serve you.
    Written June 5, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 2, 2023
  • Dean_Amy-2004
    Gettysburg, Pennsylvania8,262 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Deer, Turkey, and Bear…oh my
    A great morning on Cades Cove, after a busy the day before. We lost count of the deer and turkey we saw, then saw 9 bears (2 moms with 3 cubs each). It was foggy in the morning, but we kept going and it quickly burned off. Don’t pass up the chance to go n
    Hi Dean_Amy-2004, Thank you for giving us a five-star rating! We're happy to know that you've had a great experience with us at Cades Cove. As always, we look forward to your next visit!
    Written June 8, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 6, 2023
  • Jsargent
    9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful Day At Cades Cove
    Beautiful day at Cades Cove! We had the pleasure to see a mama and 3 cubs at a safe distance of course. Two cubs were in the trees and one was on the ground with mama. If your goal is to spot a bear, be patient and watch for movement both in the brush and in the trees. When it is warm they will move to the shade so you can see them moving through the open to the trees. Early morning or later in the evening are best times to spot them. What a awesome experience to take in nature while watching the cubs play. One of our favorite places. Good luck to you!
    Hi Nomad, thank you very much for taking the time to give us a five-star review. It's such a great feeling to know that we left you with such a remarkable impression of Cades Cove. We're overjoyed to see your rating and truly thank you for sharing!
    Written June 13, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written June 12, 2023
  • Gary G
    Wilmington, Delaware35 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Go early, I think is better, be prepared to spend some time, we loved it!
    This Free drive through Tour has quite a lot to offer. the scenery is beautiful, there are lots of places to Pull off and take pictures or take a hike. the trail to the falls is 2.5 miles (one way) from a parking lot. I highly recommend this trip. we saw several deer, didn't see any Bears but we saw a huge owl. the old houses and churches along the way were very cool. I think it was verry interesting to see how people used to live. I'd expect to be half the day, take a pair of binoculars, and phone service is practically nonexistent (yay)! Go early, I think is better, be prepared to spend some time, we loved it! If we went prepared to Hike, we would have spent the entire day.
    Hi 996garyg, thank you for taking the time to give Cades Cove a five-star rating! We're happy to know that we've exceeded your expectations and look forward to continuing to do so!
    Written June 27, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Written June 22, 2023
  • Amy W
    Loganville, Georgia140 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very pretty drive
    This drive was really beautiful. It was just long. By the end, was sort of tired of being in the car. We only stopped a few times to see the sights. Sometimes it was just too crowded and tight to park the truck. The highlight was seeing a bear and cub on the drive and then when we stopped at the visitor center at the end of the drive for an ice cream we saw a buck.
    Hi amywS43100, thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on Cades Cove. We're happy that you had good experience throughout your drive. Don't hesitate to reach out to our office if you ever need anything.
    Written July 11, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited June 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 3, 2023
  • Brian U
    Wesley Chapel, Florida93 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Cades Cove never disappoints
    Cades Cove never disappoints. We did the 11 mile loop via car. We saw a few wild turkeys, two black beers from a distance in the tall grass of the cove and a couple dozen deer. The Cove continues to be a great place to visit the natural scenery of the Smokies from the comfort of your own car.
    Hi Brain U, it's such a great feeling to know that we left you with such a remarkable impression of Cades Cove. We're overjoyed to see your rating and truly thank you for sharing! For an even more up-close experience, make sure to try out Caves Cove bike rentals on your next visit! We hope to see you soon!
    Written July 14, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 13, 2023
  • Karen S
    30 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Biking Cades Cove is AWESOME
    Vehicle free Wednesday was amazing. We rented bikes and had so much fun. Saw three black bears. Don’t think I would have liked bumper to bumper cars near as much. We got there at 0630 and were already about 25th in line. Had no problem getting bikes at 0700 when they opened. It said two hours but it only took us an hour and fifteen minutes and we stopped multiple times. Loved the ice cream treat after the ride. My husband had a cheeseburger and said it was surprisingly good. Seems like a lot of locals take advantage and bring their own bikes. We packed a picnic lunch and enjoyed a picnic table next to a flowing stream. Pretty perfect day.
    Hi F8927QIkarens, it's such a great feeling to know that we left you with such a remarkable impression of Cades Cove. We're overjoyed to see your enjoyment on experiencing no vehicle Wednesday at our location. We hope to see you soon!
    Written July 18, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written July 15, 2023
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles
    go on a cool day
    Our favorite parts of Cade's Cove were the picnic area (we've reviewed it too), the gift shop at the mill, and the view about half-way on the loop. We were given a self-guided auto tour book by a friend (they are on sale at the 1st visitor shelter). I'm not sure how you'd enjoy driving around without it. Maybe there is something online that could explain things. Bathrooms are located at the mill and in the picnic area. We'd recommend checking out Cade's Cove when it is cool out and you can head out to all of the buildings and trails comfortably. We saw deer and turkey when there. Rattlesnakes and bear are also frequently seen. The loop is one way, but there are several access roads that you can use to leave from several places.
    Hi Exploringontheroad, Thank you for your review. We're happy to know that we've exceeded your expectations and look forward to continuing to do so! For a fun and up-close experience on the loop, make sure you check out our bike rentals on your next visit here. We hope to see you again soon!
    Written August 3, 2023
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 29, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles5,599 reviews
Excellent
3,934
Very good
939
Average
419
Poor
165
Terrible
143

Prwtt101
23 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2020 • Family
First, I need to point out that I LOVE Cades Cove, and have always said that, to me, it is the most beautiful place on Earth. I have visited many, many times throughout my fifty years. I love the scenery, the cabins, the animals, and the solitude of this precious place. I am an extremely patient person (I am a photographer and teacher), and am a deep lover of nature and of the natural world. I have photographs in my home of Cades Cove. We expected to have to take our time going around the loop, and we usually enjoy that experience despite slow traffic.

However, our experience there last Thursday morning was absolutely terrible. Since they are not opening the gates at this time until 8:00 a.m., we got there about 8:30 thinking it wouldn’t be too congested. We could not have been more wrong.

It took us at least 3 hours to get through the loop. Although there were certainly bears, we didn’t see any because there were so many cars blocking the road and not pulled off. By the time we would get up to where the bears might have been, they were gone and people were heading back to their cars which they had left idling in the middle of the road.

We did see one animal, a lone deer, which traffic had stopped for. There were people with long camera lenses casually leaving their cars in the middle of the road and taking pictures for what seemed an eternity.

It was impossible to enjoy the scenery with so many inconsiderate people honking, tailgating, and clogging up the road. And, there was nowhere to pull off because there were so many cars in the pull offs as well. Even if we had wanted to get out to look at anything, it would have been difficult.

And then, to make matters worse for everyone, there was a huge delay upon exiting the Cove because there were bears along Little River Rd leading into the Cove (I spotted the one in the tree people were taking pictures of). There is nowhere to pull off that road, so people just stopped their cars and got out. Traffic was severely backed up both ways, and I felt sorry for all the people who encountered this huge traffic jam before even entering the Cove area.

Suffice it to say, I will never again visit Cades Cove via car unless it is during the off season. Biking it would be better on the days they close it to cars. And perhaps soon they will begin opening the gates at dawn again so people can still enjoy that magical time of day from their cars. I wish we had arrived at dawn and just walked into the Cove, and that is what I recommend at this time for anyone wanting to truly experience the beauty of this place.

I am glad our family has such beautiful memories of Cades Cove. If this had been our first time to be here, my children would never have known what a special place it really is.
Written June 24, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Loose Moose Lodge B&B
Penn Yan, NY1,293 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 • Couples
We really should have read the reviews before going. This is a one-way, one lane path that is nothing but stop and go traffic for 2-4 hours. Everyone is looking for the bears and once they are seen, people go crazy and park wherever they can to see them, causing more and more back up. Definitely fill up on gas and pray that your car does not overheat ( we saw some poor souls with a ranger trying to help them) and good luck keeping the kids occupied, there is no cell service and you are mostly looking at grass (at least the mountains are pretty, but there are better views outside this 11 miles of torture). I’m sure the couple of historical cabins are neat, but after 2 hours of stop and go traffic, we took the 2nd of the only 2 short cut routes to leave. Wednesday is a car free day and I can really understand why they do that. So if you love sucking up fumes and playing car grid lock as you look at mountains, grass, log huts and the occasional bear, this place is for you. Insider Park Ranger Tip: At Sugarland Visitor Center, the Ranger said the best time to go is right before it closes in the evening. He says the traffic starts at 0730 in the morning and will be this way until September! So go in the evenings or Wednesday when the cars can’t go! Good Luck!
Written June 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lily M
1 contribution
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Family
Perplexed by the popularity of this. History is interesting... but none provided. Not so much as an informational signboard. The structures are labeled, as “Tipton place” etc but zero information on the structure or the Tiptons. Forget Wikipedia as there is no cell service. Do NOT go here without printing or downloading some type of guide or resource in advance. Scenery is pleasant but doesn’t hold a candle to the other views in the park. For wildlife, we saw one turkey. Also a lot of people with their small children hanging out of windows, popping up through sunroofs, and horsing around in backs of pickup trucks. 20 mph and heavy traffic is probably not the best time for this.
Written April 10, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Robin C
16 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2020 • Family
Cades cove is a beautiful spot nestled in the smokey mountain national park. It is free to drive thru and there are trails to walk to old houses or to falls and river off shoots. It is a VERY windy road to arrive there, not for the easily motion sick, however the river running along side the road is so beautiful it is easily distracting! There are plenty of little pull offs that can be used to park and go down to the river. We saw people picnic in and fishing, even swimming. Though I don't know the rules surrounding those things in the park. Arriving at Cades Cove there is a camp ground and picnic area, no bathrooms for another 6 miles of driving 10 o 20 miles an hour. It is a meandering drive thru hills and rolling fields of grass, surrounded by towering smokey mountains. Plenty of places to pull off, walk, hike, picnic etc surrounded by gorgeous scenery. The drive is SLOW, bad when you need a bathroom...but worth it for the wildlife. We saw strutting turkeys, geese, deer or female elk, and black bears. Definitely a place to visit, would have liked to be more prepared with a picnic, a bathroom break before heading in, and knowledge that some trails were closed due to corona virus. That was a bit frustrating, but understandable. Would highly recommend if you want an out door activity when staying in or near Gatlinburg!
Written May 15, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TWB
Cincinnati, OH2,510 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2019
These wonderful homesteads, churches and outbuildings will mean so much more if you BRING $1.00 TO PURCHASE GUIDEBOOK at the start of the drive. Cades Cove is different every visit and worth visiting any time of the year and repeating. It is true that when tourism is heavy, the drive is annoyingly slow, and I prefer to visit in the off-season for this reason. During the busy season this might be the only thing you have time for in one day, and you will find yourself in a happier situation if you pack a cooler full of drinks and snacks. I seem to spend more time here each visit, even when I am not stuck behind a row of cars.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ChipM2000
Rincon de Guayabitos, Mexico998 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2021
Getting out and enjoying nature was of main importance.
Slow down and enjoy the drive and the time spent together while going with the flow. Life today is not the same as it was 20 or 40 years ago. Today, its all RUSH, RUSH, RUSH.
The adventure is what you make of it.
The drive to and from Cade's Cove is very pretty offering so much to see. countless spots to stop and get a close up look-see of history and nature.
As you get close to Cade's Cove entrance there is a pull over self service information stand. Take an extra buck ($1) with you to buy the booklet that explains more about Cade's Cove and the buildings and highlights in detail, which really adds value to the experience.

Reading other reviewers scratching and crowing about people not pulling over, that's today society who doesn't believe that the signs asking folks to pull over and not block traffic on the one way drive through the cove applies to them. We experienced that ourselves. It's sad that people do not think about anyone besides themselves. Don't be one of them! :)
That said, don't let it bother you and others rudeness doesn't need to detract from your experience!
When I go to sleep at night, I know I tried to be kind and considerate of others, that's what really counts.
Written February 11, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Janet W
Jeffersonville, IN7,702 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2021 • Friends
I arrived about 2:30 PM. Traffic was light on 4/25/21. We did not see any wildlife except for turkeys. Just read that during the Wednesday vehicle closing days (5/5-9/1) they are going to keep people from parking along Laurel Creek Road. Go to the travel forum page for Great Smoky Mountains and read the post from Reid. They urge people not to all come in the early morning. They are also trying to set up a shuttle service from Townsend that they hope to have in place sometime during the summer months. I certainly hope the shuttles have massive bike racks.
Written April 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wckdtrix
Taylor Mill, KY221 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2021 • Couples
Over the years, the people visiting have grown more inconsiderate. Constant stopping and not pulling off, so holding up traffic while they snap a few photos of the 37th squirrel they pass...as if it were any different than the previous 36 they stopped to photo. It is no longer worth visiting...inconsiderate people have ruined this once great place to visit.
Written January 27, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

M H
Charlotte, NC143 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 • Friends
Have been the Gatlinburg a few times now and finally went to Cades Cove. This was a beautiful Scenic Drive fun to see how these settlements lived. It started out not so crowded but towards the middle of the day it was a lot of traffic and very slow drive. Saw 2 bears one at the first settlement house... got out the car to take the walk to the house saw a bear walking around in the distance and people taking pictures and got back in the car, not a good choice to walk towards a bear to take pictures. Then saw a bear in the woods on the way out. A lot of people were fascinated by seeing deer but I see that at my backyard at home in the city. It is a pretty lengthy drive at least with all the traffic that we got in. But it was worth it for the beautiful scenery, this would be a once and done trip.
Written August 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

GeorgiaTravelers51
Georgia278 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
We have visited Cades Cove many times over the years and have always enjoyed our time there. But this time we visited on a Monday morning and were shocked at the traffic and crowds. There were simply too many people at every stop and there was bumper-to-bumper traffic. We did not travel the entire loop road because our visit was just not enjoyable. Perhaps it's time to limit the number of cars in the Cove?
Written October 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Cades Cove - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024)

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