Cades Cove: a Rich History
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.
The valley has a rich history. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archaeologists 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. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park.
Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working grist mill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth and nineteenth century structures. Pick up the self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the loop road for information about the buildings you’ll see in the cove and the people who lived here.
An 11-mile, one-way loop road circles the cove, offering motorists the opportunity to sightsee at a leisurely pace. Allow at least two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area’s trails. Traffic is heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round. While driving the loop road, please be courteous to other visitors and use pullouts when stopping to enjoy the scenery or view wildlife. An inexpensive self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the road provides a map and information about the cove.
Cades Cove Story
Learn about farming, home life, religion, and recreation in the fascinating history of this beautiful, lively mountain community. Contains historic photos.
Cades Cove: The Life and Death of a Southern Appalachian Community 1818-1937
In moving detail this book brings to life an isolated mountain community, its struggle to survive, and the tragedy of its demise.
A Cades Cove Childhood
One of the last residents of the Smoky Mountain town frozen in time, J.C. McCaulley, tells of life in a community that few have seen.