Cades Cove cabin in the winter
December 14, 2023

The natural scenery of the Great Smoky Mountains is beautiful all the time, and winter is no exception. If you’re going to be on the Tennessee side, you should definitely take a drive along Cades Cove Loop Road. It is a great winter activity, as visitors stay out of the cold and in the comfort of their own vehicle. Learn more about the route by exploring this list of 3 things you’ll see along Cades Cove Loop Road this winter:

1. Beautiful Scenery

The Great Smoky Mountains are some of the oldest mountains in the world, yet their beauty remains timeless. In the winter, the area turns into a real-life winter wonderland. Cades Cove receives about 20 inches of snow each season. This is less than some of the higher elevation areas of the park, such as Newfound Gap. It is nearly a mile high, receiving 69 inches of snow during the winter season. When snow does fall in Cades Cove though, it blankets the ground and forms icicles in the trees. Visitors love this postcard worthy scene!

2. Animals

two deer in the smoky mountains during winter

The beautiful scenery of Cades Cove is home to a variety of wildlife, and you may have the chance to see some during your drive. You won’t see black bears, the most popular resident of Cades Cove and the Smokies. This is because they have gone into hibernation for the winter. However, you may spot a white-tailed deer. They are often spotted in open field areas. Don’t let their calmness fool you, as white-tailed deer can run at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour and leap as high as 8 feet. Another creature you may see is a wild turkey. If you don’t see its colorful face, you’ll definitely hear its loud gobble. They tend to be found in open areas or along roads foraging for food by pecking with their beaks or scratching the ground with their feet. They search for acorns and berries as well as small insects. Another helpful characteristic is their eyesight. Wild turkeys have a 270° field of vision and can see 3 times better than a human.

3. Preserved Historical Buildings

Before the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the popular tourist attraction we know and love today, it was home to a thriving settlement. Park officials have worked to make sure its legacy lives on through preserved historical buildings, and you’ll see some along Cades Cove Loop Road. One of them is the John Oliver Cabin. The cabin is named after the man that built it. John Oliver and his wife were some of Cades Cove’s first settlers in the 1800s and the structure served as a cozy first home. They later built a second home close by. Other structures along Cades Cove Loop Road include Primitive Baptist Church. Built in 1827, it was the first of several churches in the Cades Cove community.

We know you’ll love driving along Cades Cove Loop Road this winter! When planning your visit, check out this list of 4 tips for visiting the Smoky Mountains this winter!