Exploring Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains
People from all over the world travel to East Tennessee to visit the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most popular national park in America. One of the Park’s main attractions is Cades Cove, a beautiful quiet valley surrounded by the stately Smokies. Even at its busiest seasons, this secluded cove evokes images of a simpler, more peaceful early America. While Native Americans were the first to hunt and travel through the Cove, they never resided there; it wasn’t until the early 1800s that settlers, who at one point numbered just under 700, built cabins, churches, a grist mill, and a school, many of which still stand on their original sites today.
An 11-mile one-way loop runs through the Cove, giving visitors the ability to drive through and pull off to explore, photograph, and possibly spot a wide variety of wildlife, including white-tailed deer, black bear, coyote, turkey, and others. Before 10:00 AM every Saturday and Wednesday morning from early May until late September, only bicycle and foot traffic are allowed on the loop road. Otherwise, the road is open to motor vehicles (weather permitting) from sunrise to sunset every day.
Many of the Smoky’s tourists stay in the busy areas of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, where a myriad of hotels, restaurants, attractions, and activities compete for the traveler’s attention just outside the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains. Most visitors are unaware that there is a very different alternative for lodgings, still within an easy drive to the park. Whitestone Country Inn is tucked away ‘far from the maddening crowd’, on hundreds of acres of scenic beauty overlooking Watts Bar Lake. It offers both a bounteous breakfast and starting point for a day’s excursion to the Park, and an incredible dinner and luxurious room in which to wind down after a day of exploration. Review the unique accommodations online, choose a room, and let Whitestone be your home-away-from-home on your next visit to Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains!