Cades Cove | Scenic Loop Drive and Campground


"If it wasn’t for the loud sound of the screeching car stopping in front of the Black bear, we could have seen the Bear with its cute cubs’ streets crossing the street. Humans I tell you! Luckily Black Bear are plenty in Cades Cove area."

Black Bear are plenty in the Cades Cove area. This one was right next to the road that goes from Cades Cove towards Sugarland Visitor Center. We also saw Black Bear at Cades Cove scenic drive.

Even though, the forest ranger segregated us into two groups on each side of the Black Bear and the Black Bear was slowly gaining confidence to cross the street, it took just one halt by an onlooker’s car to scare him away into the forests in-spite of rangers telling him not to stop the car.

                                       Bear and the two cubs wanting to cross the road, but could not!

This is the area surrounding Cades Cove (drive a little from Cades Cove towards Sugarland Visitor Center), where Black Bear sightings are common. In the course of our one-night stay + 1/2 day we saw two wild Black Bear sightings at different locations. We were enthralled because they were not in the Zoo’s and in their homes. Our stay at Cades Cove and the scenic loop drive was a pleasant experience too.

You would be surprised at how these human interventions & negligence disturbs wildlife. A black bear can be euthanized because of improper storage of food in the campgrounds (store inside the vehicle or bear cans only), stacking river rocks or cairns made by people does serious damages to river ecosystem as many fishes lay their eggs under these rocks etc.

Stopping at Walmart, Knoxville | Driving via Townsend 

We always stop at Walmart to shop for the food we may need to cook in the campground. We loved stocking up on Cream Cheese + Bread (for our breakfasts), Canned Beans + Microwave Rice (for our lunch & Dinner), Butter etc. We could have stocked meat but Smokies had rain prediction for the entire 3 days, so we did not. We couldn’t have grilled anything on an immediate basis in the camp that day, due to rain. We drove to Cades Cove via Townsend.

Along the way, we saw people tubing in the river at Townsend. I am not really sure how good and bad that is. The reviews are pretty good, and I was tempted to try them too, but we did not had time to stop at Townsend. I also read in the newsletter of Smoky Mountains, that water-based activities that have ended tragically include swimming and tubing because of the swollen mountain streams, intact drowning is one of the leading causes of death in Smokies.

Entering the Great Smoky Mountains

The Great Smoky Mountains welcomes you to lush unperturbed forests and no light tunnels. It’s amazing to drive inside the park and admire the trees which has leaves on their bottom barks and roots and streams that flows alongside the road. Since the forests are dense and the road cuts through it, we were always in the shade of trees when driving.

                         Tunnels are plenty in the Smokies and Blue Ridge Parkway

Cades Cove Campground 

The Cades Cove campground is a decent campground. We have a grocery store in the campus where we get ice-creams. Since, Bikes are the best way to explore the Cades Cove Scenic Loop one can also rent a bike from there (Its expensive though!). There are toilets, but no showers. There is also water filling tap in the campground. There is a picnic area next to the river.


                                            Cades Cove Campground Cafe has ice cream.
            One of the best ways to enjoy the ice cream is by having it in the picnic area by the river.

The Cades Cove Scenic Loop Photo-essay

The name 'Cades Cove' was given by European settlers and has come from Kate’s Cove in honor of Chief Abraham of the Chilhowee tribe’s wife, Kate. Do not forget to check out some pretty interesting facts from VisitMySmokies.

The Cades Cove scenic loop is a 11-mile one-way loop road that has the view of mist moving in the Smokies from far, wildlife, historic structures like Cable Mills, primitive churches and log homes. Staying overnight at the Cades Cove Campground ($25) was an added bonus. So, here’s how we began from Knoxville.

Let’s take you through this loop with a Photo-essay. It starts right next to Cades Cove Campground. As soon as you exit the campground, there is an entry to the loop. The loop takes about 2-4 hours to cover. There was traffic on the loop when we went, and the traffic was running pretty slow as there was Black Bear sightings.

It’s a one - way loop that takes time, so if you wish to cut it through in between as a short cut, there is Sparks Lane and Hyatt Lane that cuts through the scenic mile loop. We did drove through both of these routes and on ones of these route we passed through a narrow stream on which water was flowing on the road. We also saw some wildlife.

                                     Notice the bark of the trees that had leaves.

As we took one of the shortcut roads on Cades Cove Scenic Drive,
we encountered him, but really who is he?

There are also two branching roads - Rich mountain road and Parson branch road. We never took those exit roads, however one of the visitors who is common to the area said on one of these roads, they have many streams on the road, and it’s beautiful to drive through them. We really didn’t know which one.

                                                             Playing with horses...

                                            Admiring the beautiful scenary

                                  It's a great biking loop. Bikes can be rented at the campground.

 John P. Cable Grist Mill - built in the 1800's was an important resource for people who were living in the valley because it allowed them to grind their corn and wheat into flour to make bread.

                  I was rather curious on why people have dropped coins in them.

Remnants of primitive way of life still exists in Cades Cove. John Oliver place is one such example of a log cabin not held together by peg or nails. This is not John Oliver's cabin. But this is also one of the log homes we stopped by enroute.

                                  A stream flows by on one of the shortcut roads.
                                                            Primitive Baptist Church


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