Cades Cove or Roaring Fork?

Old Jul 12th, 2007, 07:32 AM
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Cades Cove or Roaring Fork?

If you only time to do one or the other, would you take the Cades Cove driving tour, or the Roaring Fork Motor Trail? Which is more secenic with better photo opportunities? Which one has water falls fairly close to the road, not requiring a very long walk to get to?
peggy01 is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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I'm more of a Roaring Fork lover. Everytime we have done Cades Cove, it ends up being with a zillion others who want to stop and block traffic.

Old Jul 12th, 2007, 07:46 AM
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Roaring Fork is more scenic, whereas Cades Cove seems more like a historic loop of a ride.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 10:38 AM
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Count on Cades Cove taking you most of the day unless you are staying nearby. It takes a while to just get there from the Gatlinburg area. We drive the Roaring Fork one almost every time we go.

I don't know what it is like down there this summer, but from past experience I would find out how full any falls are that you are planning to see (especially if hiking to them). We hiked up to Rainbow Falls one October to find a trickle of water (at best) and that wasn't even in the middle of a drought.
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Old Jul 12th, 2007, 01:21 PM
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The previous posters are right about the potential for stopped traffic in Cades Cove. It's not a place to go if you are in a hurry.

Still, it is interesting to actually get out of your car and walk into some of the historic cabins and churches.

Also....there's beautiful scenery and an abundance of wildlife. Usually, when traffic backs's because a black bear has been spotted or a herd of deer, and everyone is trying to get a great shapshot of them. Instead of letting it get to you, just stroll up and see what all of the excitement is about at the front of the line. Sometimes you'll see amazing things. That's why everybody has stopped!

On the way in, if you go....stop at the main station and inquire about the best waterfalls that are easy to get to. They'll know which ones are running strong and which ones are trickling.

Still, for less crowds, you'll probably want to opt for Roaring Fork.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 05:27 AM
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Cades Cove is fine if you go early in the morning. The lines of cars do show by by 10:00 and it can be slow getting around. Cades Cove is very pretty and fun the walk around the historic houses. Also, if you look carefully in the meadows (and anywhere cars are stopped and people are pointing), you will usually see a bear family. We have almost always seen bear in CC. But either ride would be nice. We like to alternate when we get to Gatlinburg.
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Old Jul 13th, 2007, 05:45 AM
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Another great time to see Cades Cove is just before dusk. Many of the animals come out to feed in the meadows, pastures and edges of the forest then. Take your camera. You can get some great wildlife shots without ever leaving the safety and comfort of your car.

The animals in the Cades Cove area are quite used to human beings, so they rarely dart away when you approach.

But....don't get out of your car to try to pet the bears or scratch behind their ears. Just enjoy them from a distance....especially if they have cubs with them.
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Old Jul 16th, 2007, 07:24 PM
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Cades Cove and Roaring Fork are both nice but I think the Roaring Fork area is more serene. I think there could be more wildlife at Cades Cove but the problem I've always encountered there is that there are people who get 17 people in the back of a pickup truck or 13 in a minivan and they drive around with the doors open making all kinds of noise that ends up either scaring away the animals or cause you to lose the feeling of being in nature. It ends up feeling more like a circus than a national park. Also I've found there to be a lot of folks on very big and loud motorcycles which also break the moment. I can understand the draw - the area is gorgeous and I'm sure touring it on a bike would be phenomenal but for me the noise is just too much. Sorry if this sounds hard-core!!
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