Cades Cove in the Smokies: An Autumn Color Story

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If you visit Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the fall, you will see incredible autumn color in its mountains and fields. While you’re in the Park, be sure to look for the side road to Cades Cove as well.

Cades Cove is such a special part of early-1800s Americana that it has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places. If you couple its rustic homesteads and well-preserved churches with the beautiful mountain views the early settlers also enjoyed, it’s probably the most popular destination in the entire park.

Here’s our Cades Cove photo essay, our story-in-photos of this unique place,

This is one of the best national parks in America for viewing wildlife.

Photos of Cades Cove

Here is Cades Cove, Tennessee in full fall glory, with an incredible autumn colors, abundant wildlife and few visitors.

Winding through the cove as the sun sets on a day and a season, nature explodes in the full array of colors while a few visitors share the views with deer and turkeys.

Cades Cove, Tennessee in full fall colors

Clouds hang low. The grass still green, but the fall colors are exploding like fireworks displayed from tree to tree.

Fall colors in Cades Cove, Tennessee

Cades Cove, Tennessee
Horses enjoy the last of the greens, basking is the waning warmth of the sun.
Old Farm House
This historic house welcomes in yet another fall season, just one of many from times past.
Cades Cove Primitive Baptist church
Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church (established June 16, 1827) glows a brilliant white against the autumn backdrop, retired from its years of service to the community.
Graveyard at Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church
A cemetery at the back of Cades Cove Primitive Baptist Church houses those who have seen their last autumn. Now they rest as time moves on without them.
Old barn houses in Cades Cove, Tennessee
Barns that were once built to protect livestock from the coming winter now stand as monuments to times when hay was stored for feed.
Old wagon in barn, Cades Cove, Tennessee
A once-treasured wagon rests from its years of carrying horses and riders, finally enjoying peace and a few visitors from time to time.
Creek in Cades Cove, Tennessee
Creeks carry fallen leaves off the mountains. The leaves have finally lost their summer cloak of green and now show their true colors.
Deer and Turkeys in Cades Cove at sundown.
Turkeys and deer come out from their daytime hiding spaces in the nearby woods to feast on the leftovers of summer’s production of greens. One last hunt before becoming the hunted.
Buck in Cades Cove, Tennessee
A lone buck displays his 7-pointed crown as he joins his harem of does feasting on remaining grass.
Sunset in Cades Cove, Tennessee in autumn.
The reds and oranges in the setting sun enhance the cove’s autumn hues. This is the essence of autumn in the air.
Road around the cove of Cades Cove, Tennessee
Roads empty and peace descends as darkness begins to take over Cade’s Cove.
Sunset colors of autumn in the Cades Coves area of the Great Smokey Mountains.
Green pines create a patchwork with autumn’s reds, yellows and oranges in the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee.
Full moon over Cades Cove, Tennessee
Twilight approaches and the greater light gives way to the lesser light. One more day passes in the endless cycle of seasons and years 
Autumn in Cades Cove, Tennessee
The brilliant display beckons us and we can’t resist capturing a few more shots of color as we work our way out.
Cades Cove, Tennessee at sunset
A final look over our shoulders as we bid goodbye to Cades Cove’s warm fall color display. Cold is approaching in the next few weeks.
An autumn road in Cades Cove, Tennessee
The road out of Cade’s Cove leads on. Soon the whites of winter will appear, blanketing the last remaining vestiges of the year until they thaw and bring new life to the valley.

How to get to Cade’s Cove

Cades Cove is in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. Enter the park from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, on Highway 441. The Cades Cove turnoff is well marked. Watch for the Visitor Center.

10 Best U.S. National Parks for Wildlife Viewing

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Written by Dan

Professional photographer specializing in street, food and travel shots.

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6 thoughts on “Cades Cove in the Smokies: An Autumn Color Story”

  1. Such a beautiful place! I first went to Cades Cove with friends from West Virginia, did a camping trip. I saw my first bear down in Tennessee! (I come from Australia) Just loved the place and want to go back sometime with my family. Maybe late next year.. never do know!

    • Hope you can go again. If you go in the autumn you may be able to enjoy the leaf change. That’s one of the prettiest times of the year.

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