The star attractions in this part of the world are Cades Cove and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, home to more than 187,000 acres of forest in Appalachia. Over 9 million people visit the Smokies each year, many of them accessing the mountain range through our community in Townsend. With hundreds of miles of streams, rivers, lakes, wilderness areas, campgrounds, and wildlife habitats, it’s clear to see why this place holds special meaning to so many.
If you only have a short time to visit the Smokies, we recommend you check out the inspiring views from the park’s highest point in the observation tower at Clingmans Dome (elevation 6,643 feet). On the way, you’re sure to see majestic trees and waterfalls along the winding road. If you can stay with us a while, you’ll find many options for filling your days with camping, fishing, hiking, mountain biking, scenic drives, interpretative programs, and more. We also recommend considering excursions or guided tours with Smoky Mountain Guides.
About 10 miles from Townsend and on your way to the National Park, you’ll find the valley of Cades Cove. You definitely want to bring your camera to capture the scenic mountain views, well-preserved homesteads, historic churches and graveyards, and roaming black bears.
Long isolated by geology, this area is called “the Peaceful Side of the Smokies” because it offers an ecological alternative to the man-made tourist attractions that dot the hillsides and roadways of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We love that nature’s wonder is right outside your cabin to behold, yet it’s just a short drive to other destinations with shopping and entertainment options.
Once you experience the size and beauty of the Smokies, you’ll never look at the world in quite the same way.