A visit to the Great Smoky Mountains offers many outdoor adventures from a scenic drive, hiking on nature trails, viewing and photographing wildlife, bike riding, and horseback riding. And one great place to head to for your adventure just a short drive from the Pigeon Forge area is the Cades Cove Loop in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Cades Cove has a large loop for a scenic drive, bike ride or horse back ride.
The Cades Cove Loop is an 11 mile scenic drive that is open during the daylight hours. The early morning hours are dedicated to those that prefer the the non motorist mode of taking in the views. Anytime of the year offers unique and beautiful views with each season bringing change to the views and landscape. The spring time is a picturesque view of wildflowers, blooming shrubs and trees. Summer time is a perfect time to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the long sunny days with peace and quite of nature. Autumn may be the very best time with many black bears enjoying the nuts on the trees bringing them into view more often than ever. While the snow capped mountains are a beautiful view in the winter the loop will close if it is effected by inclement weather for the road condition.
Off of the Cades Cove Loop is many areas just off the main loop to stop and see many historic buildings preserved from the time that the land was dedicated Great Smoky Mountains National Park transforming the once privately owned farming and timber land for an area for all to enjoy. Along the main loop you will also find many options for exploring on hiking trails that lead off into the park.
If you are wanting to spend a day viewing the natural wildlife of the Great Smoky Mountains then Cades Cove is the first recommendation that you will most likely hear if you talk to locals around Pigeon Forge or Gatlinburg TN. Early in the day and near dusk is typically the peak times to see movement of wildlife in the valleys and near the main loop. If you have your camera ready you may easily take home some prized photographs to share the sights. You will want to observe all regulations of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park such as not feeding the wildlife or chasing after them to get a better photo for your safety.