There are so many things to do in Gatlinburg not the least of which is enjoying all the natural beauty. Wildlife is abundant in the area, especially in Cades Cove within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. If you enjoy bird watching you’ll love Cades Cove because this immense valley surrounded by mountains offers opportunities to see a diversity of wildlife, including dozens of bird species.
Visitors often sight wild turkeys in the Cades Cove area. There are a number of nature trails in Cades Cove, not counting the 11 mile Loop Road. Later in the spring (beginning in May) the Loop Road is closed to cars on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10: 00 am. People love to bike and hike the loop road during these quieter times. In April there are multiple hiking opportunities in Cades Cove, from the easier Cades Cove Nature Trail to the more challenging Abrams Fall Trail and some of the longer trails that go to Thunderhead Mountain and Rocky Top. You could also take your car around the Loop Road and use one of the stop offs along the side of the road to get out and observe wildlife. Wherever you roam in Cades Cove bring your camera and log book because you’ll want to record your adventures!
In addition to wild turkeys, some of the larger birds you may see at Cades Cove include Great Blue Herons and Green Herons. Ducks inhabit the Cades Cove area in abundance, and you may see Wood Ducks, American Black Ducks, mallards, Gadwalls and Ring-Necked Ducks. As you make your way through the over 6800 acres that is Cades Cove, you’ll also have the opportunity to see Hooded Mergansers and Ruddy Ducks near the many pools and streams.
See our Smoky Mountain Birds Pinterest board http://pinterest.com/gatlinburgtn/smoky-mountain-birds/ for more examples of birds you may see on your visit to Gatlinburg.
Throughout the valley that is Cades Cove as you walk, bike or drive watch for black vultures along with Golden Eagles and American Kestrels. Cades Cove also makes a wonderful day trip to see the historical buildings around every bend of the Loop Road, and the bird watching is a spectacular bonus as you immerse yourself in the history of the area.
It’s a great time to see birds in the Gatlinburg area as they search for nesting spots to raise their young. Imagine picnicking at Cades Cove and seeing a wild turkey strutting by! Start planning your camping trip as Cades Cove has a large campground with over 159 sites that’s open year round. Be sure to stop at the Cades Cove Visitors Center which is located half way up the Loop Road to get more information that can help you get the most out of your trip.