Location Spotlight: Cades Cove GSMNP

An easy shot! Cade’s Cove in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park has plenty of wildlife and nature photography opportunities for those unable to trek the wilderness.

Mother Black Bear and two Cubs Cades Cove GSMNP

Although I prefer more secluded destinations, Cades Cove was a great place to take my daughters to see their first bears. At the time, they were a bit too young wilderness hiking, so the wildlife drive in Cades Cove was a great option. It is a wonderful location for the physically challenged photographer that wants some wildlife encounters.

Pileated Woodpecker in Cades Cove GSMNP

Black Bear in Black Berries

I specifically chose this location for the opportunity to see Black Bears. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected areas where black bears can live in wild, natural surroundings. Biologists estimate that roughly 1,500 bears live in the park. With such and abundance of wildlife and abundance of park visitors, it isn't an odd thing for the two to cross paths frequently.

Black Bear by car in Cades Cove GSMNP

American Black Bear crossing the road in Cades Cove

In addition to the open beauty of the mountains, coves and valleys, there are also somewhat hidden gems… but still easily accessed. There is a short hike to a beautiful waterfall – Abrams Falls. Great torrents rush over a sandstone cliff in this beautiful mountain ecosystem. The waterfall is named after a Cherokee Chief whose village was once located several miles downstream from the waterfall. It is a short and quite popular hike to the falls.

Abrams Waterfall in Cades Cove GSMNP

Velvet Elk Buck in Cades Cove GSMNP

And a bonus surprise was the Elk! Elk once roamed the southern Appalachian mountains but were eliminated by over-hunting and loss of habitat. Reintroduction of elk into Great Smoky Mountains National Park began in 2001 when 25 elk were brought from the Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area along the Tennessee-Kentucky border. In 2002, the park imported another 27 animals. Today, the elk can be seen foraging through different areas of the park. (Source NPS)

Cades Cove Great Smoky Mountain National Park

Mother Black Bear in Cades Cove GSMNP

Photo credits: William Wise.

Your article must be written in English

August 13, 2019


nice pictures

August 12, 2019


Yes, it will be neat to one day walk side by side with, or even hug, a big bear! 

August 12, 2019


Scenes of paradise!  Isaiah 11: 6-9

August 09, 2019


Thanks for reading and commenting, Oni! 

August 07, 2019


nice pictures, thanks for sharing.

August 07, 2019


Yes, if you can look past the crowds, it is a wonderful place. Thanks for reading and commenting! William 

August 07, 2019


From your great photos, it looks like a fabulous place to visit. 

Related image searches
Cove related image searches