Cades Cove was first settled during the 1700’s by the Cherokee Indians and is named after a Chief Kade. The first European settlers came during the 1800’s eventually reaching a population of 671 around 1850. Many of the original buildings and cabins are still in the cove today as a testament to these early settlers! In the 1920’s the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill giving the Park Commission the power to seize the cove properties making them apart of the National Park system!
That’s the short history of the cove that is found in the history books. Now for the real history of the cove! A trip to Cades Cove reveals a living history not found in any book! When you visit the cove you will see the actual cabins where many of the residents lived and worked! A close inspection will reveal tool marks, wood smoothed out by the hands of time and other signs of the people who were here.
It’s not hard to imagine what life was like for these folks after spending a short time here at Cades Cove. The over whelming abundance of wildlife must have given the residents great comfort that they would always have something to eat. It’s easy to see the faith that the residents carried with them by the number of churches in the cove. And it is interesting to see the things they brought with them from their countries of origin, the design of the barns, the way of life.

Historic Buildings at Cades Cove:

John Oliver cabin: (1822)
The first of the European Settlers.

Elijah Oliver Place: (1866)
His first farm was destroyed during the Civil War.

Becky Cable House: (1879)
Belonged to John Cable’s spinster daughter.

Henry Whitehead Cabin: (1895)
A family prominate in the moonshine trade.

Dan Lawson’s Place: (1840)
Mr. Lawson was the cove’s wealthest resident.

Tipton’s Place: (1880)
Log cabin that was covered with paneling. This is very interesting how times change! At one time the exposed logs of the cabins were thought to make the houses look old or primative because the wood was not machine processed.
So in an attempt to make their home look more “up to date” and in keeping with the times, they had the beautiful logs covered by wood paneling!

A number of Church’s:
-Primitive Baptist (1887)
-Methodist (1902)
-Missionary Baptist (1915)

Double-Cantilever Barn:
Very unique european designed. Take a ride up highway 321 towards Wears Valley and along the way you will see an operation that offers horse back riding to tourists. A closer examination of the barn used there to house those horses will reveal it too has a cantilever design.
Wonderful for the horses as they stand there all day waiting for their chance to go to work. They are protected from rain, sun and elements while all the while enjoying the fresh air and the cool mountain breeze.
The over head storage area’s make feeding the animals very easy and economical!

Cades Cove Features:

11 mile – one way loop road.
bicycling & hiking – Wednesday & Saturday
(7 am – 10 am)

Visitor Center:
Open Daily – Restrooms

Numerous Trails:
Including 5 mile round trip to Abrams Falls and longer hikes to Thunderhead & Rocky Top.
The trail to Abram Falls is not too difficult and is wel l traveled by tourist and local alike. This maybe your best opportunity to see a beautiful falls while at the Smoky Mountians! It’s aways up here, so be prepared and be sure to bring drinking water with you! Never drink the water from the mountains, they can contain a parasite that won’t hurt you much, but will make you sick and not much fun to be around while on vacation.


Black Bears!
White Tail Deer!
Huge amount of abudant Wildlife!
When folks ask about where can we see some bears, the answer is always the same, you have to go to the Cove! This area is teaming with wildlife! It is amazing what with all the visitors that the wildlife still comes and lives in Cades Cove! If your looking to see some bears, your best chance will be near the wooded area’s. Keep a close watch at the edge of the tree lines and chances are you may see a momma bear and her cubs! But please do not approach or try to feed any wild animals. They may be cute, but that can end in hurry!

Gregory’s Cave:

And Bull Cave – deepest in Tennessee!
Rich History:

  • Early Settlers!
  • Their Religion!
  • The Civil War!
  • Moonshine & Prohibition!
  • The National Park!
  • Early Buildings!

Cades Cove has had a history that dates back many many years. The struggles for folks to remain here through wars, hard times and even while the government was trying to take their land for the park system dates back to the early times in our history! There have been many a book written about all that has gone on here over the rich and long history of Cades Cove!

Travel Times to Cades Cove:

Pigeon Forge ………………………………. 60 minutes
Gatlinburg……………………………………. 60 minutes
Wears Valley ………………………………35 minutes
Dollywood………………………………….. 65 minutes
Townsend …………………………………… 30 minutes
Knoxville Airport ………………………….. 60 minutes