The Cades Cove Loop Road is everyone’s go-to point when discussing a trip to Cades Cove in Townsend, TN. But what about once you’re there, have traversed the loop, and now you’re deciding what to do next? Where can you take a break, or get a bite to eat?
The loop can be an exceptionally long 11 miles at times, something to quench your thirst or your appetite might be in order – especially if you’re traveling with small children Being in the middle of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, most people decide to go to the Cades Cove Campground Store. Most people don’t even know it’s there and that’s a real shame. At the Cades Cove Campground store you can purchase food and drink, convenience items, rent bicycles and get some of the best ice cream around during those hot summer days.
For those of you still thinking, “it’s only 11 miles, it won’t take that long”, you’d be surprised. Depending on the time of year, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to a couple hours. On average, during the summer months especially, the 11 mile loop around Cades Cove is going to take a few hours. When you finish the loop and the kids are clamoring for something to eat, take a right when you come off the loop road. Across from the Ranger station you’ll see the Cades Cove Campground Store. Pull into the parking lot and head inside for something to eat. There is plenty of food for everyone, from burgers and chips to pizza and nachos; they’ve got all the summer staples. The store is also located right next to the picnic area, near River Road. So, if it’s a picnic you’re after, stop by the campground store for all the trimmings and enjoy your next meal in Cades Cove.
Another of the perks offered at the Cades Cove Campground Store is bicycle rental. Bikes can be rented by the hour and taken around the loop. The one-way, slow traffic on the Cades Cove Loop Road means that you’re ensured a safe ride. The loop road only allows a meandering pace for cars giving cyclists an easy glide throughout the Cove. Geared bike rentals start at $6 per hour for adults and $4 per hour for kids. This is an ideal activity for anyone staying at the campground that has kids. Wednesday and Saturday mornings throughout the year the road is closed to motor vehicle traffic and bike riders have the loop road to themselves. You can choose to bike the full 11 miles or you can take the Sparks Lane cut off and bike only 4 miles.
Whether you choose to bike or drive the loop road, reward yourself with a snack when you’re finished. Many say that the Cades Cove Campground Store has the best ice cream in the Smoky Mountains. It’s a delicious treat as you’re traveling through Cades Cove. Be sure that the Cades Cove Campground Store is a part of your next Townsend getaway.