Cades Cove is a 6,800 acre scenic paradise located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park near Townsend and Gatlinburg, Tennessee. With nearly two million visitors a year, Cades Cove TN is one of the most visited areas of any National Park located in the United States.
Cades Cove Tennessee belonged to the Cherokee Nation prior to 1818 and was settled by John and Lucretia Oliver in the fall of 1818. The Cherokee were not a threat to the small numbers of whites in the cove for a few short years until a larger population suddenly turned them hostile. It is sadly ironic that the Cherokee, who befriended and helped the Olivers survive their first few years in the cove, were eventually chased out principally by John Oliver himself.
Cades Cove fell on hard times during the Civil War as most of the population supported the Union and were harassed by Confederates from North Carolina.
The Cove returned to it’s rural lifestyle after the Civil War as industry began to spring up in the surrounding the areas. This led to a slow migration from the Cove through the early 1920’s when the Great Smoky Mountain National Park was established in 1926.
The last resident, Kermit Caughron, lived in the Cove until he passed away in 1999. Despite Kermit’s home being of important historic significance, the National Park Service decide to tear it down in 2001 because it did not fit in with the historic setting of the Cove.
Even though life was harsh for the early settlers of Cades Cove TN, they must have had a wonderful appreciation for the breathtaking beauty of the land they called home for many years. Despite the unfortunate outcome of the Cades Cove community, the land is now preserved for all to enjoy.
There are many recreational activities to participate in while visiting Cades Cove, but by far the most popular is to drive the 11 mile loop around the cove. Many choose to ride a bicycle around the loop to get a more intimate view of the scenery and some even hike.
You can spend anywhere from a couple of hours to the entire day enjoying the Cades Cove loop. If spotting wildlife is your aim, you need to arrive early in the morning or stay till dusk.
Besides the loop road, Cades Cove TN also offers camping, picnicking, hiking, fishing, biking, hayrides, guided programs and shopping. The shopping is not the crass commercialization you find in Gatlinburg. Mostly you will find freshly milled grains, historical itemsScience Articles, books and photography relating specifically to Cades Cove or the surrounding area.
Camping in Cades Cove is truly an enjoyable experience. It is the most popular campground in the National Park. If you would like to camp in Cades Cove you can make reservations via the National Park Reservation Center. You can only make reservations up to 3 weeks in advance online or 5 months in advance by calling 1-800-365-2267.
The rich history and the stark beauty make Cades Cove Tennessee a must see on your next trip through the Southeastern United States…don’t miss it!