Cades Cove Loop Road on a Beautiful Fall Day, and a Picnic at Metcalf Bottoms

Cades Cove Loop Road is heavily traveled during fall color season, and most other times of the year… It’s a great place to see wildlife (think deers, bears, and turkey). I had a feeling that the first sunny day after days of rain, wind, and raw weather would be busy, but I knew that it wouldn’t get any better over the weekend : ) We set the alarm, had John’s french toast, made a picnic lunch and got going by nine (yes, that’s early when you’re retired, and it’s 43 degrees out and really warm in bed under the electric blanket!)

I knew we were in trouble when the Cades Cove traffic was backed up way outside the loop. We decided to brave the crowds and just enjoy the beautiful mountains and the meadows.

Cades Cove Loop Road by Stables - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove Loop Road by Stables – Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Cades Cove Loop Road  - Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cades Cove Loop Road – Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cades Cove Valley is unusual in the Smokies in that it’s a flat valley, 4 miles long by one mile wide. One hundred years ago, it was a thriving town with about one hundred families, all making their living farming. Those families were bought out by the park in the 1920s and 1930s as the park was established.

We continued slowly around the loop, looking in vain for wildlife. We usually see something, whether it’s a deer, bear, turkey or a small mammal. But, today I guess the animals are waiting till the cars thin out to make their appearance.

It’s a gorgeous day, bright sun and blue skies. The colors are still muted in the valley, with lots of green.

Cades Cove Loop Road  - Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cades Cove Loop Road – Great Smoky Mountain National Park


Cades Cove Loop Road  - Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cades Cove Loop Road – Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Cades Cove Loop Road  - Great Smoky Mountain National Park

There are several church buildings remaining in Cades Cove.

Methodist Church - Built 1902 - Cades Cove

Methodist Church – Built 1902 – Cades Cove


Cades Cove Loop Road

Cades Cove Loop Road


View from Cades Cove Loop Road

View from Cades Cove Loop Road


There are a lot of bare trees in this area of the Smokies. They were probably at peak color last week and lost their leaves in the heavy rains and gusty winds. Several structures remain in Cades Cove and are being maintained by the Park Service…
Cades Cove Loop Road - Great Smoky Mountain National Park
We stopped by the Visitor Center for a park stamp and some shopping. There are quite a few preserved buildings in the Cable Mill Area, including farm house and various outbuildings and a working mill.
Cades Cove - Cable Mill Area - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove – Cable Mill Area – Great Smoky Mountains National Park


Leaving the Visitor Center, we happened on the Henry Whitehead Cabin?
Henry Whitehead Cabin? - Cades Cove Loop Road

Henry Whitehead Cabin? – Cades Cove Loop Road


(I know I should have made notes as we drove the loop!) Most of these buildings are open and may be entered.
Dan Lawson Cabin - Cades Cove

Dan Lawson Cabin – Cades Cove


The Tipton House - Cades Cove

The Tipton House – Cades Cove


Carter Shields Cabin - Cades Cove

Carter Shields Cabin – Cades Cove


We followed the line of cars to the end of the Loop Road…
Cades Cove Loop Road - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove Loop Road – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We were starving by this point so we headed to Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area, along Little River Road.

Little River Road...

Little River Road…


But along the way, we stopped at the Sinks to see the high water.
The Sinks - Little River Road - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

The Sinks – Little River Road – Great Smoky Mountains National Park


There were some kayakers, just putting in so we stuck around to watch. There was one guy, up stream from the bridge, who looked like he was getting ready to run the falls…
The Sinks - Little River Road, GSMNP

The Sinks – Little River Road, GSMNP


Kayaker at the Sinks, Great Smokies

Kayaker at the Sinks, Great Smokies


These kayaks on the rocky outcropping, are launching nose first into the Little River, and popping right back up to the surface…

And, finally, to the picnic area…
Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Little River - Little River Road - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Little River – Little River Road – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Little River Road - Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Little River Road – Great Smoky Mountains National Park

About Holly Ritger

I am retired, enjoying being a grandmother, traveling to National Parks and other interesting places in our RV with my husband of 43 years, and visiting with friends and family. Hobbies: photography, learning about wildflowers and birds, and trees, and reading from my kindle.
This entry was posted in Fall Color, Great Smoky Mtn NP, Tennessee and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Cades Cove Loop Road on a Beautiful Fall Day, and a Picnic at Metcalf Bottoms

  1. placestheygo says:

    This is a great area. We did it years ago on a motorcycle trip. You had some beautiful colors:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Holly Ritger says:

      Gosh, you guys have really done it all when it comes to different methods of travel : ) I used to want a ride on a motorcycle, but I think one of those trikes might be more my speed!

      We seemed to have hit peak color this trip… We just got back from a day on the Blue Ridge Parkway and the colors we saw today are totally gorgeous!

      Like

  2. tybeegal says:

    Looks like a beautiful drive in spite of the crowds.

    Like

  3. Is this around Gatlinburg? I have lived in Tennessee all my life and never been there, but we do quiet a bit of hiking around Altamont, Beersheba Springs, in that area. There’s a beautiful place there called Greeter Falls and the Stone Door. You can take beautiful pictures at those locations this time of year. If I can find my picture from there, I’ll post them on my blog. God bless!

    Like

    • Holly Ritger says:

      Hi Vikki and Brian – Thanks for your interest. Cades Cove is about an hour and a half from Gatlinburg. We were camped in Gatlinburg at Twin Creek RV on Hwy 321, and taking day trips to various spots in the Smokies. We have been exploring Great Smoky Mountain National Park for the umpteenth time (I like to come in the spring for wildflowers, and again in October for the beautiful fall colors).

      Cades Cove is in the western part of the park and is a beautiful area, although it can be crowded. We entered Cades Cove from Wears Valley Road (Hwy 321) in Sevierville. I can’t remember the name of the connecting road (maybe Route 73) to Laurel Creek Road from Hwy 321 but I bet there are signs for the National Park.

      We are from the Atlanta, GA area and we haven’t checked out many TN state parks or other recreational areas. Lately, we have been spending a lot of time camping out west. I do have a waterfall book for TN for our next trip up this way. We saw gorgeous fall colors at Cataloochee today…

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s