Featured Writer: Gwendalyn Abrams
It is official; Cades Cove is my new favorite place to escape the hustle and bustle of the real world. There are no theme parks, amusement rides, demands or deadlines here. If you are in a hurry, do not bother. This is the place to take your time, stop and smell the roses and work on your patience skills. If there is an animal spotted up ahead a long the road, you will be sure to know, because there will be a back up on the road. Cades Cove is a place to enjoy the simple things in life.
Cades Cove is located in The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. A cove is a rather flat valley between mountains or ridges. Cades Cove Loop Road is an 11-mile, one-way narrow road, which teaches you about history in that particular area and gives you a natural view of the mountains and wildlife at the same time. If you are lucky enough to see a bear or deer on your trip around the loop, remember to pull off to the side so others can get around you.
There are around 18 points of interest on your auto tour. Let me just quickly add that the Cades Cove Loop Road is actually closed to Automobiles on Wednesdays and Saturdays until 10:00 a.m. from May 9th to September 26, 2012 to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to enjoy the cove.
Before you begin the Auto Tour, I suggest that you buy a Cades Cove Tour Brochure. It will only cost you a $1. You cannot beat that.
The Points and Interest are as follows:
#1 Roads and Trails – Once you start the Loop Road, the only facilities available are the restrooms at the Cable Mill visitor center. There are seven trailheads to hiking trails that are easily reached from the Loop Road. These are:
The Crib Gap Trail and Anthony Creek Trail, which start at the upper end of the Picnic Area. The Anthony Creek Trail will intersect trails that lead to Spence Field and Russell Field. The Rich Mountain Loop Trail starts near the gate to the Loop Road. The Copper Road Trail is at stop number 9 on the map. If your turn right onto the unpaved road a few yards after crossing Abrams Creek, you will reach the trails to Abrams Falls and Rabbit Creek Trail.
Please be advised that a lot of the trees are missing on the Abram Falls Trail, due to a past Tornado that swept through the area. If you are hiking in the summer, it will be very hot and the trail takes around 3-4 hours. Bring plenty of water.
If you turn right onto the Forge Creek Road, immediately beyond the entrance to the Cable Mill Historic Area, you will reach the Gregory Ridge Trail.
#2 Sparks Lane – This road is used if you need to return to the campground or to leave the cove. It has been a part of the Cove road system since the 1840s!
#3 John Oliver Place – The John Oliver Cabin was built in the 1820s
#4 Primitive Baptist Church – Established in 1827
#5 Methodist Church – Rebuilt in 1902
#6 Hyatt Lane – This lane was actually once a part of the Cherokee Trail. Now the lane is used by visitors who want to either cut short their tour of the Cove or to repeat the western portion.
#7 Missionary Baptist Church – The building dates from 1915
#8 Rich Mountain Road – Motorists can leave the Cove and Park by this road
#9 Cooper Road Trail – This road was first part of an Indian trail, but now is a pleasant hiking trail.
#10 Elijah Oliver Place – Elijah Oliver, was the son of John Oliver, whose cabin you saw at stop #3
#11 Mill Area Walking Tour – A very nice area to get out and stretch. Here is what you can see:
- Visitor Center
- Cable Mill Area
- Blacksmith Shop
- LeQuire Cantilever Barn
- Millrace and Dam
- Cable Mill
- Gregg-Cable House
- Corn Crib
- Sorghum Mill
#12 Henry Whitehead Place – A very nice cabin to explore. You can go inside and even climb up the stairs!
#13 Shields Family – Another cabin to explore
#14 Hyatt Lane – Here is where you can go if you want to have another look at something in the western end of the cove.
#15 Dan Lawson Place – Built in 1856, another cabin to admire.
#16 Tipton Place – “Col. Hamp” Tipton built this home in the early 1870s, he had served in the Mexican War.
#17 Carter Shields Cabin – George Washington “Carter” Shields bought this property in 1910, but only stayed for 11 years before leaving.
#18 Sparks Lane – This is the end of the tour
After you have completed your tour, you may want to go and sign up for a horseback ride or a hayride through the area. Also check the schedule to see when a Ranger led Hayride is being conducted. This way everyone gets to sit back and enjoy the surroundings and learn about the nature and history of the area. Keep a look out for Deer, Turkey, Otters and Bear.
Points to remember:
- Snakes like to hang out around and in old buildings; there are two venomous snakes that can be found in the area. The Northern Copperhead and The Timber Rattlesnake.
- Bears are very active in the park. Use caution. Even though they are magnificent creatures, they are wild and unpredictable. Keep your distance and do not feed any wild animal. Remember it is always better to use a telescopic lense to photograph the animals than trying to get up close.
As you can see, you can really get lost in the beauty and history of Cades Cove. It is a great area to spend the whole day in and enjoy the simple things in life.
You can read more about our adventures at singleparentadventurist.com