Hi there!

 

So you’re planning a camping trip in Great Smoky Mountains National Park!

Most people who visit Cades Cove will make a trip to Cades Cove as a day trip. But if you want to take things more slowly, you may consider staying at Cades Cove Campground!

Camping in Cades Cove will put you near scenic roads, hiking trails, waterfalls, and more!

 

Cades Cove Campground: tent camping and RV camping. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove Campground. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

Cades Cove Campground. tent camping Cades Cove. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

Cades Cove Campground. RV camping Cades Cove. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove Campground. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove Campground. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove Campground. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove Campground. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

 

First, some quick things to know about the Cades Cove campground that’s located in the Smoky Mountains.

Then, a bit on how to make camping reservations.

 

 

Things to know about camping at Cades Cove Campground in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Cades Cove Campground: driving to cades cove. great smoky mountains national park camping. tennesse smokies travel blog

Cades Cove Campground: driving to cades cove. great smoky mountains national park camping. tennesse smokies travel blog

Cades Cove Campground: driving to cades cove. great smoky mountains national park camping. tennesse smokies travel blog

 

 

1. The Cades Cove Campground is located in the northwest area of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Cades Cove campground map camping in great smoky mountains national park. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog
Explore the map.

 

 

2. Cades Cove is one of the most popular areas of the national park.

And the main reason to go to the northwest area of the park is specifically for Cades Cove. 

 

 

3. You’ll drive along a creek to get to the campground.

With one main road that goes to Cades Cove, you’ll be driving along Laurel Creek to get to Cades Cove. 

 

Laurel Creek Road to Cades Cove campground. driving to cades cove. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

 

Depending on where you’re coming from, you may also drive along Little River, like if you’re driving the scenic route from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove.

 

 

4. The campground is just minutes away from the start of the popular Cades Cove Loop Road.

The Cades Cove Loop Road is what makes Cades Cove popular. This is an 11-mile one way one lane road. This makes it a slow-going road as cars drive slowly slowly (and stop) around the loop to take in the scenery… and possibly some animals!

 

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. cades cove loop road scenic drive. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground to cades cove loop road scenic drive. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground to cades cove loop road scenic drive. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground to cades cove loop road scenic drive. wildlife, horses. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

 

It’s not unusual to see bears when driving the Cades Cove Loop Road.

You can also make a stop to hike to the popular Cades Cove waterfalls along the way.

 

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. Cades Cove waterfalls trail. abrams falls trail. cades cove hike. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

 

Aside from the nature and wildlife, it’s also a way to learn about the historical aspect of the Smoky Mountains. You can visit a historic Cades Cove cabin or 2, an old church or 2, and even a historic mill. 

 

Cades Cove campground to historic cades cove cabin. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog
👆 John Oliver Cabin

 

While most people drive the loop road, there are also tons of people who bike the Cades Cove loop road.

 

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. Biking Cades Cove loop road. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

 

In 2020, there were car-free days (Wednesday), and the car-free days are the best days to bike around the Cades Cove Loop Road. You can bring your own bike, or there’s bike rental available near the campground. Although the bikes are in high demand especially the car-free mornings (aka bikes may not be available).

And, you can also park at the start of the Cades Cove Loop Road to go for an out-and-back walk. Or go a bit further and cut across Sparks Lane or Hyatt Lane to make a shorter loop around Cades Cove instead of the full loop road.

 

Cades Cove campground. Walking Cades Cove loop road, sparks lane. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog
👆 Sparks Lane

 

 

And so…

5. If you stay at the Cades Cove Campground, you can drive Cades Cove one day, bike it one day, and walk it one day!

They can all provide a different kind of experience!

 

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. Driving Cades Cove loop road. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. Biking Cades Cove loop road. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. Walking Cades Cove loop road. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

 

 

6. If you stay at the Cades Cove Campground, you can catch the morning fog in Cades Cove and catch the sunset over the valley in Cades Cove!

Sure, you can see this as a day trip too if you stay in Cades Cove all day from dawn to dusk. But camping in Cades Cove gives you more opportunities!

 

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. see Cades Cove morning fog. tennesee tn. smoky mountains travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. see Cades Cove morning fog. tennesee tn. smoky mountains travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. watch sunset in Cades Cove. tennesee tn. smoky mountains travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. watch sunset in Cades Cove. tennesee tn. smoky mountains travel blog

 

 

7. If you stay at the Cades Cove Campground, you can start your day with a morning run or ride in Cades Cove every day, or end your day with an evening run or ride in Cades Cove every day!

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. Running Cades Cove loop road. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

Things to do near Cades Cove campground. Biking Cades Cove loop road. tennesee tn. smokies travel blog

 

 

8. The campground is for tent camping and RV camping.

And other types of camping!

Cades Cove campground: tent camping in cades cove, smoky mountains camping. tennessee smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground: tent camping in cades cove, smoky mountains camping. tennessee smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground: rv camping in cades cove, smoky mountains camping. tennessee smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground: rv camping in cades cove, smoky mountains camping. tennessee smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground: rv camping in cades cove, smoky mountains camping. tennessee smokies travel blog

 

 

9. The tent campsites come with a tent pad.

This will be flat gravel ground to set up your tent.

 

Cades Cove campground: tent camping in cades cove, smoky mountains camping. tennessee smokies travel blog

 

 

10. Cades Cove Campground is a mostly “rustic” campground.

 

 

11. There is no electricity at the campground.

The campsites of Cades Cove Campground are “non-electric” and there is no electricity at these campsites.

 

 

12. There are no showers at the campground.

There are no showers at Cades Cove Campground, or at any other campgrounds in the national park.

 

 

13. There are regular bathrooms at the campground.

There are regular toilets at the campground, along with regular sinks, although there is no hot water. Cold water only.

 

Cades Cove campground bathroom. tennessee smokies travel blog

 

 

14. There are faucets around the campground for drinking water.

Cades Cove campground drinking water. tennessee smokies travel blog

 

 

15. There’s a dishwashing sink for campers.

Cades Cove campground dishwashing sink. tennessee smokies travel blog
It looks like a toilet, but it’s the “sink” to wash dishes in.

 

 

16. There is an RV dump station.

 

 

17. You can get ice and firewood from the Cades Cove campground store.

where to buy firewood and ice, Cades Cove campground store. tennessee smokies travel blog

 

There is a Cades Cove campground store that sells ice and firewood, among other things. This is located near the campground office. You’ll see it when you check in.

Because of invasive species that could come with wood brought from elsewhere, it’s always best to buy your firewood locally.

Read about the firewood specifications for camping in the Smoky Mountains.

 

 

18. There are bears in Cades Cove.

Cades Cove Campground bears. how to stay safe camping with bears in cades cove, in great smoky mountains national park. tennesse smokies travel blog

Cades Cove Campground bears. how to stay safe camping with bears in cades cove, in great smoky mountains national park. tennesse smokies travel blog
Cades Cove is “bear habitat.”

 

About those bears. As mentioned, it is not unusual to see bears while driving the Cades Cove Loop Road.

It’s said that a fed bear is a dead bear. This means that once bears start to see humans as a source of food, they can become a threat to humans, and that means a potential threat to you!

Currently, bears in the Smoky Mountains are generally not seen as a threat to people. But it takes everyone, including all campers, to keep it like that and to keep everyone safe, while you’re camping, and to keep the campers that come after you safe!

When you check in, you’ll be given a copy of things to help keep bears away so be sure to read that.

Among the things that are noted are to be sure to take care to pick up after yourself after you eat. You want to avoid leaving food in your tent, and be sure to store all food in your car. This also means it would be better if you didn’t eat inside your tent at all.

Another thing is to also try not to keep scented items inside your tent. Scented items can even include things like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and sunscreen.

 

Cades Cove Campground bears. food storage. how to stay safe camping with bears in cades cove, in great smoky mountains national park. tennesse smokies travel blog

Cades Cove Campground bears. food storage. how to stay safe camping with bears in cades cove, in great smoky mountains national park. tennesse smokies travel blog

 

Before you go camping, you can read up on bears in the Smoky Mountains.

 

 

19. There’s a “bear-proof” garbage dumpster for campers.

Cades Cove Campground bears. trash. how to stay safe camping with bears in cades cove, in great smoky mountains national park. tennesse smokies travel blog

 

You will see bear-proof dumpsters and trash cans in the Cades Cove area, and all over the park.

 

 

20. There’s the Cades Cove picnic area near the campground

There’s a picnic area located in the Cades Cove area. After you finishing up Cades Cove Loop Road, you can eat your picnic lunch at the Cades Cove picnic area if you want a change in scenery from eating at your campsite!

 

Cades Cove Campground near cades cove picnic area. smoky mountains. tennesse smokies travel blog

Cades Cove Campground near cades cove picnic area. smoky mountains. tennesse smokies travel blog

 

 

And finally…

21. What to do as a day trip (or half day trip) from Cades Cove Campground

Well, you can make many trips to explore Cades Cove Loop Road!

But aside from that, how far are other things from Cades Cove?

For more activities, see the best of the Smoky Mountains.

 

 

Read the reviews of the Cades Cove campground.

 

 

⛰🐻

 

 

 

Now…

How to make camping reservations at Cades Cove Campground

Cades Cove campground camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

 

The official website for making a Great Smoky Mountains National Park camping reservation through the National Park Service NPS is recreation.gov.

You can type in Cades Cove Campground for the search, and then go from there.

You’ll be able to find an updated campground map too.

You can also see the individual campsites that are available. If you click on an individual campsite, it will also give you the basics of the campsite. If you have flexible dates, you can also search the availability by date. This can also help you determine if you should book soon or not, based on the availability of the campsites. You can also see how close a campsite is to the nearest bathroom.

There are also Cades Cove Campground reviews you can read on the camping reservation website.

 

 

Cades Cove Campground map

Cades Cove campground map for camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground map for camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

 

 

Cost of camping at Cades Cove campground

The cost of camping at Cades Cove campground is around $25 per night. See here for updated camping fees.

There is NO entry fee for Great Smoky Mountains National Park! This is kind of unusual for a national park.

 

 

Checking in to your campsite

Then, once you arrive in the Cades Cove area, you’ll stop by the campground office to check in and get your camping permit!

 

Cades Cove campground check in for camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground check in for camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground office check in for camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground office, national park ranger station check in for camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground office, ranger station check in for camping reservation. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

 

Then off you go to find your campsite!

 

Cades Cove campground, camping permit reservation for campsite. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground, camping permit reservation for campsite. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground, camping permit reservation for campsite. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground, camping permit reservation for campsite. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground, camping permit reservation for campsite. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

Cades Cove campground, camping permit reservation for campsite. great smoky mountains national park camping. national park service. smokies travel blog

 

And that’s a bit about camping at Cades Cove campground!

 

See more about great things in Cades Cove TN:

Also see about driving the scenic route from Gatlinburg to Cades Cove (or driving the opposite way).

And for more camping in the Smoky Mountains, also see:

 

HAPPY CAMPING IN CADES COVE!

 

Cades Cove Campground: tent camping and RV camping. Things to do in Cades Cove, near cades cove loop road. best great smoky mountains national park camping. tn tennesee smokies travel blog

 

 

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Best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains

You will want good shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains.

In general, the best shoes for hiking in the Smoky Mountains will be hiking boots (more ideal) or trail running shoes (more versatile for everyday activities compared to hiking boots but still will give you advantages compared to regular shoes).

I liked wearing my hiking boots for the thicker soles (good on rocky trails) and the waterproof (water resistant) nature of them.

They were especially helpful on rainy day hikes to keep my shoes (and socks!) dry! They are also better to be walking on mud compared to regular shoes.

On rougher terrain (like the trails that are a bit rougher with more rocks), hiking boots are more ideal so you won't feel it on the bottoms of your feet as much.

If you want shoes that can work out better as everyday "out and about" kind of shoes, then you might like trail running shoes better! Trail running shoes are a little more durable than regular shoes, so they can also work out as good hiking shoes. Trail running shoes are a bit lighter weight and less bulky compared to hiking boots.

Shoe fit is very important for your feet! Be sure to break in your new shoes by walking around the neighborhood and/or at the grocery store before you go on your "big hike" in the Smoky Mountains!

Shop for hiking boots: Merrell is popular and known as a good quality outdoor shoe brand for hiking

Shop for trail running shoes: Salomon is popular and known as a good quality outdoor shoe brand for trail running