cades cove
November 17, 2022

Cades Cove is a popular place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park known for its stunning views and abundant wildlife. The area is packed with a variety of activities for everyone to enjoy! You can embark on scenic hikes to beautiful places such as Abrams Falls as well as tour the area on horseback. On the other hand, if you prefer a more laid-back activity, you can explore the natural scenery from the comfort of your own vehicle as you travel down Cades Cove Loop Road. Whether you’re planning to go for the first or 50th time, get to know this iconic place a little better before your next visit! Here are 4 interesting facts about Cades Cove:

1. Its Name Changed

In the late 1700s, the Cherokee people established a settlement around the area that would become Cades Cove and called it “Tsiya’hi,” which means “the otter place.” This was due to the area’s abundant population of American River Otters. It was later named after the leader of the Tsiya’hi settlement, Chief Kade. The otter is now a rare animal in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Their population was reintroduced to the area in the 1980’s. Still, visitors have reported seeing them diving for fish near Abrams Creek.

2. The John Oliver Cabin is One of the Oldest Structures in the Park

John Oliver Cabin in Cades Cove

John Oliver and his wife moved to Cades Cove in the 1820s making them the first permanent settlers in the area. When the National Park Service took control of the structure, it had been in the Oliver family for over 100 years. The structure itself is interesting because it is held together by gravity and notched corners rather than pegs and nails.

3. Cades Cove is the Most Popular Place in the Park

Cades Cove is the most popular place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The area gets an average of 2 million visitors per year. Visitors love to come back and see how the beauty of Cades Cove changes with the seasons. In the warmer months, there is rich greenery and colorful wildflowers. In the fall, come see the beautiful red and orange hues of the fall leaves. Later, the winter brings a blanket of snow to the Smokies! People who love history come and see buildings such as the Primitive Baptist Church that are remnants of the once thriving community in Cades Cove. Finally, if you love animals, come and see the variety of wildlife that call Cades Cove home! It’s safe to say that there is something for everyone to enjoy!

4. Home to the the Only Working Grist Mill on the Tennessee Side of the Smokies

operating grist mill in Cades Cove

When the John P. Cable Grist Mill was constructed in 1868, it was a huge technological advancement that improved the lives of the people living in Cades Cove. Before it was built, people turned their corn into cornmeal by breaking it down manually with a mortar and pestle, a tool that consisted of a bowl and a stick. This was a very tedious process that took a lot of time. Today, the mill is still in operation. If you want to know more about how the mill works, there is staff there from April to October to tell visitors about how the mill turns corn and wheat into flour.

We hope you enjoyed these interesting facts! Before you plan your next visit, learn even more information about Cades Cove!