gourley's pond in cades cove
May 2, 2022

If you’ve visited the Great Smoky Mountains before, you’ve probably been to some of the most popular spots in the park. The most popular destination is Cades Cove, and this 11-mile looped road is full of history and breathtaking scenery. So if you’ve visited, you know exactly how incredible it is to see in person! But did you know there are some secret spots you probably don’t know about? Keep reading to learn more about 5 hidden gems you can only find in Cades Cove:

1. The Pearl Harbor Tree

american flags

One secret spot you’ll have to get out of your car to find is The Pearl Harbor Tree. A man named Golman Myers planted the tree the day of the attack as a tribute to the people who lost their lives. His son, Bernard, came back to the area in the 1970s and placed a metal tag on the tree that reads, “Golman Myers transplanted this tree Dec. 7, 1941.” To find the tree, travel about 3.5 miles down the road until you’re 0.5 mile away from Missionary Baptist Church. You’ll walk into the tree line headed west for about 0.1 mile, and there’s a clearing on the left side of the road. Keep walking towards the treeline along the western edge of the field and climb up the hill to get to the tree.

2. Gregory’s Cave

Another hidden gem in Cades Cove you will want to find is Gregory’s Cave. This is a natural cave that was used for mining in the pioneer days. It eventually became a tourist attraction in the 1920s by the Gregory family, but it was closed after they moved out of the area. While you can’t enter the cave, you are able to see inside the mouth of the cave. To find Gregory’s Cave, park your vehicle at the parking lot on the right after you pass Sparks Lane. Walk along the road until you see a gated dirt road on the right. Follow this road until you see two picnic tables on the right, and the cave is a short distance in front of you.

3. The Cantilever Barn

cantilever barn in cades cove

While you probably have seen the cantilever barn as you travel through Cades Cove, it is still considered a hidden gem! This type of structure is unique to Sevier County, Tennessee, so you won’t find them anywhere else but here! Historians believe the farmers in the area combined a couple of European barn designs to create the structure you see today. Livestock would huddle under the edges of the barn, and crops would stay dry during rain.

4. Gourley’s Pond

One secret spot you’ll definitely want to try to find after a good rainfall is Gourley’s Pond. To get to the pond, park at the LeQuire Cemetery past the south end of Sparks Lane. Walk along the road about 200 feet until you spot a path on the right. If you follow the path for about 100 feet and then head southwest, you’ll see Gourley’s Pond!

5. Hyatt Lane

hyatt lane in cades cove

While Hyatt Lane isn’t exactly hidden like some of the other spots on our list, it’s still worth mentioning! This road was originally used by settlers in the area when they wanted to go to Tuckaleechee or Maryville, but today it is used as a two-lane shortcut through Cades Cove. This road provides visitors with a unique look at the area from the middle of the valley.

We know you’ll have a great time trying to find all of these hidden gems while you’re in Cades Cove! Want to visit other popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains? Check out these popular places in the Smokies!