1 - 2 Hours
Tour Start Time
Anytime, Any day
Welcome to the Cades Cove Tour
Discover gorgeous natural scenery and rich history at Cades Cove, one of the most popular destinations in the Smoky Mountains. This scenic loop packs a ton of sights into a small space. Check out sparkling waterfalls, lush hiking trails, and historic churches all in one place! Plus, learn the fascinating history behind this cove, including how the Civil War once threatened to tear it apart.
About the Tour
Your tour of Cades Cove begins just west of Gatlinburg, by the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Library. From there, you’ll continue west toward the scenic loop itself. You’ll hear about the Cherokee who once lived here and the clashes between them and the first European settlers to arrive as you drive. You’ll also get familiar with some of the wildlife that makes the Smoky Mountains special.
The first major landmark is the John Oliver Place, once home to some of the first homesteaders to try to make a living here in Cades Cove. After that, you’ll arrive at the Primitive Baptist Church, one of three churches in the cove dating back to the 1800s. As you visit the next two—the Methodist Church and the Missionary Baptist Church—you’ll learn about the devastating impact of the Civil War on this community and where these churches stood in the conflict.
Then it’s on to the Elijah Oliver Place, a beautifully-preserved homestead offering an authentic look at early pioneer life in the Smokies. After that, you’ll have the option to hike to Abrams Falls, a secluded, powerful waterfall.
Next up is the John Cable Grist Mill, a still-working mill from the 1800s where you can buy cornmeal ground up on-site! Then you’ll reach Tipton Place, home to not only a Revolutionary War veteran but also a Civil War veteran. Finally, you’ll reach the Carter Shields Cabin, another idyllic homestead from a bygone era. Then you’ll continue toward the start of the loop as you hear about the last family to call Cades Cove home. Your tour will conclude near the start of the Cades Cove Scenic Loop.
Between May and September, Cyclists and pedestrians have exclusive usage of the Cades Cove Loop Road every Wednesday. No other vehicles are allowed during this time.
The National Park Service introduced a new pilot system for parking reservations for Laurel Falls. Check the National Park Service website for updates on parking reservations for 2022.
What You'll See
Missionary Baptist Church
Elijah Oliver Place
John Cable Grist Mill
Carter Shields Cabin
Preview the Tour
Stop 1 - Welcome to Cades Cove
Stop 5 - Smokies Wildlife
Stop 6 Alt - John Oliver Place Cabin
Stop 10 - Missionary Baptist Church
Stop 14 - John Cable Grist Mill
What do we do?
Simply put, Action Tour Guide is an audio guide, map, and tour book – all in one app! We are a GPS-enabled app-based tour that narrates information based on your location right on your phone. You can experience our driving and walking tours at your own pace and literally at any time of the day!
Changing travel date? No worries! All individual tours come with lifetime validity.
No Network Needed
The tour works offline which means you do not need your phone network to enjoy the tour. However, we do suggest you download the tour at your home, hotel, visitor center, etc before you head out for a completely immersive experience.
This is not an entry ticket. Please visit https://www.recreation.gov/ for more info on entry/admission tickets.
How many tours should I purchase?
Since this is a driving tour, you only need to buy one per car.