Need to Know
Over 2 million visitors annually come to enjoy the scenic beauty of Cades Cove and its many historic structures. Popular activities here include hiking, biking, touring the 11-mile Cades Cove loop road and observing wildlife. Whether blanketed in bright wildflowers in the spring or vivid colors in the fall, the scenery at Cades Cove never disappoints. Cades Cove is a broad, verdant valley surrounded by mountains and is one of the most popular destinations in the Great Smokies. It offers some of the best opportunities for wildlife viewing in the park. Large numbers of white-tailed deer are frequently seen, and sightings of black bear, coyote, groundhog, turkey, raccoon, skunk, and other animals are also possible. For hundreds of years Cherokee Indians hunted in Cades Cove but archeologists have found no evidence of major settlements. The first Europeans settled in the cove sometime between 1818 and 1821. By 1830 the population of the area had already swelled to 271.
Cades Cove Campground is open year round and combines the feel of primitive camping with the modern convenience of flush toilets and drinking water. During peak season (May - October) a camp store provides visitors with basic necessities as well as bike rentals. Events like Interpretive Programs in the nearby amphitheater and Bicycle Only Days on the loop road provide visitors with a fun and unique experience. During the off season (November-April), the campground is walk-up with the exception of sites C38-C61 which are available to reserve in advance. All campsites are drive-up and allow a maximum of two vehicles. Each campsite allows a maximum of six people and tents must be on tent pads; plan accordingly. At RV sites only one RV or trailer is allowed. Any RV including motorhomes, cabover campers and camper vans, or any trailer including 5th wheels, pop-up campers, and cargo or boat trailers are vehicles and count toward the limit. Each campground has overflow parking for excess vehicles. Each campsite allows a maximum of six people and tents must be on tent pads; plan accordingly. Hammocks are allowed but are limited to the footprint of the campsite. Check out time is 12:00 p.m.
The park-wide camping limit is 14 nights, per visit not exceed 60 days in a year. These limits apply to all park campgrounds. Quiet hours are from 10:00 PM-6:00 AM. Generator quiet hours are from 8:00 PM-8:00 AM.
There are no hookups or showers at the campground. There is an emergency phone available at the Cades Cove Campground Kiosk.
Hammocks are allowed in the campground with the following guidelines: Must be over the footprint of the campsite, limited to trees 10 inches in diameter with adequate padding around the tree and only 2 hammocks are allowed to be suspended from the same tree.
Campsites are $25 per night for individual campsites. Reservations for campsites at Cades Cove Campground can be made 6 months prior to your arrival date online at www.recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777. Owners of an Interagency Senior/Golden Age or Interagency Access/Access Pass receive a 50% discount on individual campsites. There is no discount on group sites. There is no discount on camping fees for an Interagency Annual Pass ($80 pass).
Pets are allowed on a leash no longer than six feet. Hiking in the park with pets are allowed only on the roads, Oconaluftee River Trail and Gatlinburg Trail.
Groceries, Camping Supplies, Food, and Firewood
A limited selection of groceries, camping supplies, visitor convenience items, and food and beverage service are available in the park. Please see listing for additional information.
Bundles of certified heat-treated firewood are available for sale in the communities surrounding the national park. Firewood may not be brought into the park unless it bears the USDA-APHIS-PPQ or state certification that it has been heat-treated. See Firewood FAQs page for additional information. The following campgrounds have on-site firewood sales:
Late Arrival Procedures
Park campgrounds are not gated. You may check in after hours.However, please be considerate of your neighbors while setting up camp by keeping noise and light to a minimum. Quiet hours are from 10:00 PM-6:00 AM. If you have forgotten your assigned site, check the Arrival List posted on the bulletin board at the kiosk for your name and site number.
Advance Reservations If you arrive after the campground office closes, please proceed to your assigned site. If you have forgotten your assigned site, check the Late Arrival List posted on the bulletin board for your name and site number.
Return to the campground office the next morning to check in. If you fail to check in your site may be reassigned and your reservation may be canceled. If you do not have advance reservations, check the Late Arrival List. If there are campsites available for campers who do not have a reservation, those available sites will be posted on the list. Set up ONLY on one of the sites listed as available. All other sites are assigned to campers with reservations. Return to the campground office the next morning to check in.
First Come First Serve Camping November-April Locate a vacant site and register immediately at the campground office or bulletin board. Registration involves filling out a registration envelope and depositing the camping fee in the nearby safe.
During the off season (November-April), the campground is walk-up with the exception of sites C38-C61 which are available to reserve in advance.
For additional information about camping at Cades Cove Campground call 865-448-4103.
Return to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Campground page.
Last updated: July 1, 2020