3 Things Do on the Cades Cove Loop This Winter

December 17, 2018

Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 11 mile loop is a motor nature trail with endless sights to see. But the real beauty of the area is best seen on foot! Bundle up before your visit, and make sure to get out of the car to explore rustic buildings and local hiking trails! Keep reading to learn about some of the things to do around the Cades Cove loop during winter!

1. Go Hikingabrams falls

Guests travel from all over the country to explore Cades Cove, but there’s more than old, rustic structures to see! There are a few hiking trails in the area that show off the beauty of the Smokies. There’s nothing quite like enjoying a peaceful hike in the Smokies especially if it’s a snowy day! 

Abrams Falls: The most well known trail is the hike to Abrams Falls. This trail is 5.2 miles round trip, and leads to a short, but very powerful waterfall! No matter the season this trail is accessible and beautiful. You may see beautiful icicles during the winter time form here too!

Gregory’s Bald: This trail is 8.8 miles round trip and offers stunning, panoramic views of the mountains and Cades Cove!

Rich Mountain Loop:  The Rich Mountain is 8.5 miles round trip. This trail will take you pass structures like the John Oliver Cabin and the waterfall Crooked Arm Falls, plus even more!

2. Learn About Appalachian History

Going around the Cades Cove loop by car offers great views of the mountains, rolling fields, and some of the rustic buildings in the area. However, the best way to enjoy your time there is to take the time to get out of the car and explore! The first cabin you will see along the loop is the John Oliver cabin. It’s unique because it’s held together without any nails or pegs to keep it up! There are 3 churches to explore as well. Each structure you see in Cades Cove has its own piece of history to tell and read about. The Cades Cove Visitor Center offers a bunch of information and stories to share all about Cades Cove and the area. It’s definitely worth a stop!

john oliver cabin with snow3. Spot Wildlife

One of the most exciting reasons to make the drive around through Cades Cove is the chance to see wildlife! Winter makes it much easier to spot wildlife. Often in the early mornings you can see deer grazing in the fields. If you are lucky enough to visit on a “warm-ish” day during the winter season you may even see our famous black bears! Other animals you can potentially see include turkeys, coyotes, and other animals! 

From beautiful, unparalleled views of the Smokies and land that’s rich in Appalachian history there’s a lot to see and do around the Cades Cove loop!  No matter the season, you won’t be disappointed by a visit! However, winter is a very magical and peaceful time in the mountains. Check here to find other hikes and places to explore in winter in the Smoky Mountains.