Cades Cove is no cove. As one of the most popular places at Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it attracts millions of visitors each year.
Cades Cove is actually a forested Tennessee valley, surrounded by the mountains and is richly populated with historic settlers’ homesteads and diverse wildlife. The cove is also home to multiple caves. Gregory’s Cave served as a fallout shelter during the Cold War, ready to hold 1,000 people.
Touring the valley is only a question of how much time you are willing to spend: An 11-mile, one-way loop road encircles the area, which also has more than a dozen great hiking and horseback trails. Be on the lookout for the resident white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes and turkeys.