Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
600.00 ft (182.88 m)
Trail type
11.00 mi (17.70 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Cades Cove Loop Road is a popular year-round destination in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Located just around the corner from the Cades Cove Campground, it is the perfect spot to combine with a weekend of camping in the Smokies. The 11-mile loop is filled with historical homesteads, trailheads for hiking, and meadows filled with wildlife and scenic beauty. You can drive the loop or choose to walk, run or bike it. By far the best way to take it all in is by foot. Black Bears are known to roam the cove, especially in the spring. Seeing a mother bear and cubs playing or foraging for food is common, and you may also see deer, turkeys, coyotes and even a bobcat from time to time. Always respect the park rules for staying back 150 feet from all wildlife. To do otherwise could cause injury to you and/or a hefty fine.

During your trip around Cades Cove you'll not only see wildlife, you will also get a glimpse into what life was once like at various building sites in the heart of the Smokies, from churches to a working grist mill. You'll even have the opportunity to step inside cabins that belonged to the pioneers of this beautiful area. Take a trip down Sparks Lane to view hundreds of wildflowers and butterflies. Mix it up and enjoy a full moon hike around the loop or enjoy a walk at night when the moon is new to stand under the Milky Way. Cades Cove Loop has something amazing to offer every visitor. Make your trip your own. 

From May 10 until September 27 Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to all vehicles until 10 a.m. on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. Foot and bike traffic are welcome 24 hours a day in Cades Cove. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Tranquility. Beautiful sunrise. History. Wildlife.



Trailhead Elevation

1,962.00 ft (598.02 m)


Historically significant

Typically multi-day


Suitable for



Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Southern Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina


I would highly encourage able-bodied people to ride your bike around Cades Cove. If a person spots even a deer the congestion can get mind-numbingly heavy. If there's a bear in the area, forget it. You're not moving for a LONG time.
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