January 14, 2019 2 min read

Cades Cove is in the Great Smokey mountains in Tennessee.  It's near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  It's an eleven mile driveable loop around a very scenic area of the Smokeys.  I have family in Knoxville, and every time I visit, I try to plan a day to visit Cades Cove.

There are quite a lot of areas to pull off the loop to park, with trails that take you to various places.  I highly recommend parking and exploring the area.  You'll find old log cabins from before it was a national park, old churches with graveyards that are balanced on four piles of stones and somehow still standing, incredible views of mountains, hills, and forests, and the occasional bear or deer.  There is a little bit of something for everyone--hiking, history, nature, or wildlife.  The views are incredible. 

There are small dirt roads you can drive down off of the loop that will also take you to some of those old buildings.  Be careful driving down those--they aren't even, and have quite a lot of sometimes deep holes, and after a good rain it might be easy to become stuck. 

There is a lot of incredible things to see here, and I've only just scratched the surface.  I've been four or five times, and every time I find something I had never seen before.  It can takes hours to drive the whole loop. 

There are often a lot of cars--I recommend pulling over to let others pass you if you're going really slow.  Sometimes you can get stuck for a while behind someone if they don't pull off.  But this isn't a place you want to breeze through.  It's definitely worth the slow ride to give it justice. 

It's quite a drive to get up there.  The roads are mountain roads, so they twist and turn, and traffic will come up on you in a flash.  Even while driving to Cades Cove, there are some incredible sights to see on the way, and places you can pull over.  We usually just head straight up without stopping, because once we get to Cades Cove we'll be there for a couple of hours already. 

If you visit the area, I highly recommend taking a day to explore this area.  It's incredible.    

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