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May 27

Cades Cove Loop – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

view from Cades cove 2 watermark

The 11 mile loop was probably the busiest part of Smoky Mountains National Park while we were there, but that is to be expected since it is some of the nicest scenery in the park. The cove is full of meadows were you can see the local wildlife including black bears and white tail deer. Karen and I did not get to see any black bears while we were there but there was an abundance of white tail deer. We went in the 3rd week of March and most of the bears were not yet done hibernating but I am sure they were out there somewhere since the Smokies average two black bears per square mile.
Deer in Cades Cove Watermark

Karen and I enjoyed our time at Cades Cove seeing some of the historical buildings which included old cabins, churches, and a working mill.  The first stop on the loop is John Oliver’s Cabin which Karen and I did not stop at but we could see it from the road.  We then moved on to the Methodist and Baptists churches and their cemeteries.  The next stop was Elijah Oliver’s Place.  It is truly amazing how spoiled we are today and just how resourceful our ancestors were to survive.  Spending some time looking at somebody’s cabin that they hacked out of the wilderness really gives me an appreciation of today and how easy things are to get, but at the same time makes me feel a little smaller.

Around the halfway point Karen and I stopped and visited the Cable Mill and visitor center which had several historical buildings and an actual working mill.  Seeing the mill actually doing what it is built to do was a very nice experience.  Karen and I could not get over just how ingenious the early settlers were.  The last part of the auto tour goes by a few more cabins, and then we were back to the main park road.

Church Cades Cove Watermark

Cades Cove is also home to the Smokies most photogenic waterfall, Abrams Falls.  The trail to Abrams Falls is a 5 mile roundtrip hike.  Unfortunately, Karen and I did not make the hike since Karen was having some trouble with her knee at the time we were in the Smokies.  Since I have been home I have looked at several pictures of the falls while doing some research for the blog and I would have to agree about Abrams Falls being the most photogenic.
view from Cades cove watermark

Karen and I highly recommend taking the drive down Cades Cove, but make sure you have lots of patience if you are going to the Great Smoky Mountains during peak season and remember you are not in a bar-less zoo, the animals in all national parks are wild.

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