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Cade Cove Loop Road at Great Smoky Mountains National Park

This road through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park runs through a lush valley, see wildlife & historic buildings
Difficulty: Easy
Length: 10.1 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It... more »

Tips:  Traffic is heavy during the tourist season in summer and fall and on weekends year-round.

While driving the loop road, please be... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Orientation Shelter

Beginning of one way road. The orientation shelter is often staffed with rangers who can answer any questions you might have.

2. Sparks Lane Road

This two-way road connect at each end with the loop road (see POI 18). It has been part of the cove road system since the 1940's and was named of Sam, Tom and Dave Sparks which were three brothers who were livestock herders in this area. If you need to leave the cove take this shortcut.

3. John Oliver Place

This is one of over 100 historic buildings in the park. John Oliver arrived in the cove prior to 1820 and received title for this land in 1826. It remained in the family until the park was established more than 100 years later.

Large families often lived in small buildings like this . Usually parents, infants and daughters slept on the first... More

4. Primitive Baptist Church

This church was established in 1827 by some of the earliest Euro-American settlers. A log building stood here until this on replaced it in 1887. The church closed during the Civil War. This official church correspondence explains why "We the Primitive Baptist Church in Blount county in Cades Cove, do show the public why we have not kept up our ... More

5. Methodist Church

Blacksmith and Carpenter J.D. McCampbell built this church in 115 days for $115. He then served many years as its minister. There weren't as many Methodists in the cove as Baptists, but enough of them got together in the 1820s to establish the church in a log building until this one replaced it in 1902.

The Civil War and Reconstruction divided... More

6. Hyatt Lane

This road connects to POI 14. It was once part of a Cherokee trail. Use this road as a shortcut to get back through the loop.

7. Missionary Baptist Church

A group of Baptists were expelled from the Primitive Baptist Church because they favored missionary work. So they started this church in 1839. The church stopped meeting during the Civil War and resumed without Confederate sympathizing members after the war.

This building dates back to 1915. A Sunday school started in the church in 1898... More

8. Rich Mountain Road

You can leave Cades Cove from this road, but it's one way so you cannot enter by this road. It's closed in the winter.

9. Cooper Road Trail

Lots of places to park and enjoy the views from here. There is also a hiking trail. Much of the road was part of an Indian trail. Daniel David Foute, a big property owner in the cove, laid it out in the 1830s as part of a route to Maryville.

10. Elijah Oliver Place

Elijah Oliver was the son of John Oliver (POI 3), and he was born in the cove in 1824. He moved out of the cove before the Civil War after he was married. After the war he bought back this property.

His original farm was destroyed during the U.S. Civil War by Confederate marauders. The homestead includes a dog-trot cabin, a chicken coop, a... More

11. Abrams Falls Trailhead

12. Cable Mill Historic Area

There is a lot to see and do here, so it's a must stop (as well as the only restrooms in the cove). The visitor center is open every day except Christmas and offers a history exhibit, information, and lots of stuff for sale.

Cable Mill is an operating water powered gristmill and operates from 9am to 5pm from March through November.

As you can... More

13. Henry Whitehead Place

Matilda Shields Gregory's husband deserted her and their small son. Her brothers built this small cabin for them. Henry Whitehead's wife died, leaving him a widower with three daughters. Henry and Matilda married (and that's how they became the Whitehead Bunch, :^).

He built for them this larger house (notice the jointed corners). It's... More

14. Hyatt Lane

If you want to see something again on the western end of the cove, turn here and follow this road back to POI 6.

15. Dan Lawson Place

This house was built by Dan Lawson in 1856, on land bought from his father-in-law, Peter Cable, whose home stood to the west across the stream. The brick chimney was unusual for the time and locale.

Lawson owned a swath of land starting at the Tennessee-North Carolina line on the mountain crest to the south and coming down the mountain and... More

16. Tipton Place

Colonel Hamp Timpton served in the Mexican War, owned property in Cades Cove but lived in Tuckaleechee Cove. He had this house build in the 1870s. His daughters "Miss Lucy" and "Miss Lizzie" were school teachers in the cove.

The McCaulley family rented the place briefly in teh late 1870s before James bought land and built his own home, plus... More

17. Carter Shields Cabin

George Washington Carter Shields suffered a wound in the Civil War that left him crippled. After the war he married and moved to Kansas. he returned to Cades Cove in 1906 and bought this property in 1910. He only lived here for 11 years before he moved again.

18. Sparks Lane

Your tour is almost at an end, unless you want to return to POI 2 via this road and repeat it again.