One of the last, great, true treasures of Appalachian history held sacred in the Tennessee Smokies is Cades Cove; a sanctuary of mountain culture if ever there was one.
Cades Cove is a valley inside the GSMNP that was once known as “Kate’s Cove”. The area was once a hunting ground for the nearby Cherokee tribes who drew to the valley for its numerous wildlife and fertile ground. The European pioneers who came after settled the land for the same reasons. Kate was the wife of a Cherokee Chief, and subsequent dialects soon shaped the name into “Cades Cove”.
You can tour Cades Cove by foot with numerous hiking trails that start there, or by bike or motor vehicle through the 11 mile Cades Cove loop road that provides multiple stops with significant historical items on them. You’ll be able to see the John Oliver Cabin, the Primitive Baptist Church, and the Becky Cable House. Those of you who like wildlife will find they’re just as abundant now as they were back in the 1800’s with white-tailed deer, bears, coyotes, groundhogs, turkeys, raccoon, skunks, and just about every other type of animal you can find in the mountains roaming about.