Cades Cove is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Once you visit this wondrous place, you’ll see why millions of people frequent the area every year! This little valley is surrounded by mountains and home to some of the best historic spots in the park, and we want to share 7 of the best stops you need to make along the Cades Cove Loop with you.
1. John Oliver Cabin
The first homestead visitors have the opportunity to see along this scenic drive in the Smoky Mountains is the John Oliver Cabin. The builder and owner is known as the first permanent European settler in the Cades Cove area, but this cozy cabin was actually built for his son. Visitors will love walking inside to see the stone stacked chimney, the wooden boards of the walls and floor, and a small loft where the residents stored personal items or slept.
2. Primitive Baptist Church
As the community along the Cades Cove Loop continued to grow, the need for gathering places arose. That’s where the construction of Primitive Baptist Church came from. This building was constructed in 1827. The white church sits next to the cemetery and has a small steeple with a bell inside. Visitors love sitting on the pews and thinking about how church services were back in its heyday.
3. Missionary Baptist Church
You may be wondering why for such a small community there would be two Baptist churches. That’s because there was a disagreement on biblical matters that caused the church to split into two factions, resulting in the construction of Missionary Baptist Church. They focused on missionary work, and the building sits on Hyatt Hill.
4. Methodist Church
Baptists weren’t the only religious group in the area. There were plenty of Methodists, which is why the Methodist Church was established. This building is one of the most photographed because of the simplicity of the architecture and the double doors leading inside the building. Why are there two doors? This congregation believed that men and women needed to meet separately.
5. John P. Cable Mill
Another popular landmark along the Cades Cove Loop is the John P. Cable Mill. It was built in 1867 to provide residents with a way to turn wheat and corn into meal and flour. The mill was also used to create lumber. The grist mill is still in working condition today, and you can actually purchase bags of cornmeal or flour to use at home that have been ground by the mill.
6. Cades Cove Visitor Center
While the Cades Cove Visitor Center isn’t a historic structure like the other places on our list, it is a stop you’ll want to make. Located at the halfway point around Cades Cove Loop, this building has park maps, history books, local food items for sale, and much more. It’s also the only place where you can go to the bathroom along the Loop!
7. Tipton Place & The Cantilever Barn
The Tipton family built several structures in Cades Cove, including a bee apiary, a blacksmith shop, a corn crib, and a smokehouse. When you visit Tipton Place, you’ll get to see the beautifully constructed cabin where the family lived, along with the corn crib and smokehouse. Another popular historic structure on the Tipton homestead is the cantilever barn. These structures are rare in Sevier County, and this is the only one that exists in Cades Cove!
You won’t want to miss any of these places along the Cades Cove Loop the next time you visit. We know you’ll have a blast exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, but there’s even more to do. Wondering what else you should put on your Smoky Mountain vacation to-do list? Check out our Freedom Fun Pass you’ll receive when you book one of our cabins to find free attraction tickets for some more fun things to do!