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 within Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 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. Reservations are now required year-round to camp in Cades Cove Campground. All campsites are drive-up. No more than two motor vehicles or one vehicle with trailer are allowed per campsite. Please keep wheels, including trailer wheels and guest cars, on the pavement. Park only in designated spaces. Overflow parking is available for excess vehicles. The maximum number of occupants, per campsite, is six. All tents must be pitched on the tent pad, where provided. Hammocks are allowed with the following guidelines: Hammocks must be within the footprint of the campsite and limited to trees 10 inches in diameter, adequate padding around the tree with only 2 hammocks suspended from the same tree. Check out time is 1:00 p.m. Check in time is 1:00 p.m.
Your stay is limited to 14 consecutive days at a time. Longer stays require that you move to a different campground. 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.
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. The owner of the pass must occupy the site for which the discount is given. You must present your Pass and ID upon check-in. Photocopies or picture of the pass are not accepted. If you cannot present the pass you will be required to pay the full camping fee. There is no discount on group sites. There is no discount on camping fees for an Interagency Annual Pass ($80 pass).
Pets are allowed in the campground but must be confined or on a 6’ leash. Pets should not be left unattended. Hiking in the park with pets is permitted ONLY on roads, the Oconaluftee River Trail and the Gatlinburg Trail. Please prevent excessive barking and properly dispose of pet waste.
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 and pay the camping fee.
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: March 11, 2021