Cades Cove, in Tennessee, is a 6,800-acre scenic paradise located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend and Gatlinburg and definitely one of the most picturesque locations in North America.
With around eleven million visitors a year, Cades Cove is one of the most visited National Park areas in the United States.
Cades Cove history
Cades Cove belonged to the Cherokee Nation before 1818 when John and Lucretia Oliver settled there in the fall of 1818. The Cherokee were not a threat to the small number of white people who moved in the cove for a few years.
When a larger population moved to the area, the Cherokee, who befriended and helped the Olivers survive their first years in the cove, were eventually chased out, especially by John Oliver himself.
Cades Cove experienced a hard time during the Civil War. Most of its population supported the Union and were harassed by Confederates from North Carolina.
The Cove returned to its rural lifestyle after the Civil War as factories began to appear in the surrounding areas. This led to slow migration from the Cove through the early 1920s when the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was established in 1926.
The last resident of Cades Cove, Kermit Caughron, lived in the park until he passed away in 1999. Despite Kermit's home being of crucial historical significance, the National Park Service decided to demolish it in 2001, claiming it didn't fit in with the historical setting of the Cove.
What to do at Cades Cove
There are many recreational activities to do at Cades Cove. By far, the most popular is to drive the 11-mile loop around the cove. Many visitors choose to ride a bicycle around the loop to get a closer view of the landscape, and some even hike.
You can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to the entire day enjoying the Cades Cove Loop.
If the main reason for your visit is spotting wildlife, be prepared to arrive early in the morning or stay till dusk.
Cades Cove also offers camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, biking, hayrides, guided tours, and shopping besides the loop road.
You will mostly find freshly milled grains, historical items, books, and photography relating specifically to Cades Cove or the surrounding area.
Camping in Cades Cove is truly an enjoyable experience thanks to the ten developed campgrounds and more than 100 backcountry campsites. If you want to camp in Cades Cove, you can make reservations via the Recreation.gov website.
The rich history and the stark beauty make Cades Cove a must-see on your next trip through the Southeastern United States, don't miss it!