Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, ground hog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible. The valley
has a rich history. For hundreds of years, Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830, the population of the area had already swelled to 271. Cades Cove offers the widest variety of historic buildings of any area in the national park.
Scattered along the loop road are three churches, a working gristmill, barns, log houses, and many other faithfully restored eighteenth- and nineteenth-century structures. Pick up the self-guiding tour booklet available at the entrance to the loop road for information about the buildings you'll see in the cove and the people who lived here.