Smokies - Cades Cove

3:11 a.m. on May 27, 2009 (EDT)
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This is the first stop on our cross country parks tour with the kids... Any recommendations?


I will post the rest of the itinerary later today and hopefully get some must see/skip it input from the crew here.

6:03 p.m. on May 27, 2009 (EDT)
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3,956 forum posts

Bear Can / Bear Spray if you're backpacking, but a good place for a car tour. (edit)

More later.

Oh....and a good camera, you'll be glad you did.

6:28 p.m. on May 27, 2009 (EDT)
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Dunno, trout, last time Barb and I were in Cades Cove was passing through as a corner of a loop backpack we were doing. We had a short distance to go parallel to a main road through the cove before plunging back into the backcountry. In that quarter mile or so, we were hiking faster than the cars were moving. That's an awfully popular part of GSMNP. Deservedly, since it so beautiful. But that's like saying Yosemite Valley is crowded because it is beautiful - true enough, but you have to realize all the car tourists are drawn there, and they never get out of their cars except to eat, go to the restroom, and take photos at the "official Kodak sites/sights"

7:51 p.m. on May 27, 2009 (EDT)
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Hey Bill,

Yep, if the car tour is all you do, you have cheated yourself out of an opportunity to more fully experience & understand these beautiful places. Most car tourists I saw just drove through like you said, you can tell this because they probably aren't going hiking in church clothes. Good thing maybe, if they all took a hike the area might have to close for re-forestation.

You are right the car tour can be slow moving, worst seems to be in Autumn. The loop can take 2 to 4 hours, but the tour can be shortened by using one of the shortcut roads that loop you back out sooner. I think there are two of them.

I would much rather backpack the area, so far I have been to Abrams Falls & parts of Rich Mountain, plus a good bit of hiking South of the Park.

I'm really kicking myself for not taking a decent camera before, next time I want to take a DSLR and get my photographer hiking buddy to give me some pointers.

I'm just a little jealous BigSmoke, good for you and the family!

May 24, 2018
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