What is Vehicle-Free Day?
Cades Cove access is motor vehicle-free all day on Wednesdays from May 1 through September 25, 2024 to provide opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists to experience Cades Cove without motor vehicles.
How to get the most out of Vehicle-Free Day
Frequently Asked Questions
Park staff will notify visitors when parking is full with signage along Laurel Creek Road.
Parking is extremely limited for oversized vehicles. While trailers (such as horse trailers) and other oversized vehicles (such as RVs) are not prohibited, parking in designated spaces is required and the number of spaces available is limited on vehicle-free days.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park is very scenic! Other options include the Foothills Parkway between Chilhowee Lake and Wears Valley for scenic views; Little River Road for a scenic drive along a river; and the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail for a scenic drive with opportunities to explore historic structures.
Yes! The campground (with a reservation) and picnic area are still open on vehicle-free days. However, parking in the picnic area is limited, especially in the morning. Other picnic areas in the park include Metcalf Bottoms (Tennessee), Chimneys (Tennessee), and Collins Creek (North Carolina).
Yes! The horse stables and campground store remain open on vehicle-free days.
Yes! There is a bike rental near the campground store. Be prepared to wait as bike rentals are very popular.
For over 40 years, park managers implemented several vehicle-free opportunities for bicyclists and pedestrians in Cades Cove. Prior to 2020, the road was closed to vehicles on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. from May through September. Under the morning-only closure model, traffic leading to Cades Cove area was often gridlocked by a line of motorists waiting for the Loop Road to open to motor vehicles at 10:00 a.m. In addition, the entire developed area was congested with parked vehicles. After filling the designated parking areas, visitors often used inappropriate areas for parking such as road shoulders and campsites.
Last updated: December 22, 2023