Horses grazing in Cades Cove.
April 15, 2017

No vacation in Gatlinburg, TN is complete without a visit to Cades Cove! This breathtaking valley in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is filled with historic buildings, gorgeous mountain views, and some of the best wildlife viewing in East Tennessee. To help you make the most of your next getaway, Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to everything you need to know about Cades Cove.

History of Cades Cove

Today, Cades Cove is the most visited section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Over 2 million people come to Cades Cove each year! Before the establishment of the park, however, the valley was home to a thriving community that lasted for over 100 years.

Years ago, Cades Cove was occupied by the Cherokee, who hunted throughout the land. They would camp in the area for months at a time, but it is unlikely that the Cherokee had permanent homes or villages there.

In 1821, some of the first Euro-American settlers made their way to Cades Cove to create a family life and make the area home. The population of the valley reached almost 700 people, with over 130 families. These families built cabins and churches, established farms, and maintained livestock for food. The people of Cades Cove thrived for years until the creation of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At this time, families were forced to leave the area.

While the valley’s residents are long gone, many of the homesteads and buildings that were constructed in the 19th century still remain in Cades Cove.

Cades Cove Loop Road

The Cades Cove Loop Road.

To see all of the beautiful structures that have been preserved in Cades Cove, visitors can take the driving tour along the Cades Cove Loop Road. The Loop Road passes by all of the popular historic sites in the valley. The 11-mile road is easy to drive but may be crowded on the weekends and during the fall and summer months.

To make the most of your trip to Cades Cove, be sure to make plenty of stops along the Loop Road. We suggest parking your car and taking a walk along some of the trails, to experience the beauty and fascinating history of the area.

(See Also: Top 5 Things to Do in the Smoky Mountains for Nature Lovers)

Historic Structures in Cades Cove

During your tour of Cades Cove, you will see the following historic structures:

  • 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

The John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove.

There is a Cades Cove Visitor Center along the Loop Road that has a variety of indoor and outdoor exhibits about mountain life and Southern culture. The address to Cades Cove is: Cades Cove Loop Road, Townsend, TN 37882.

When you stay with Gatlinburg Cabin Rentals, you will be about an hour’s drive from Cades Cove. Our cabins come with your choice of luxurious amenities, including mountain views, hot tubs, game rooms, swimming pool access, and wireless internet. To start planning your vacation, browse our selection of Gatlinburg cabin rentals!