Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Rich Mountain Road in Cades Cove

Rich Mountain Road is on the right and is beyond the Methodist Church by about half a mile. The turnoff is immediately before you get to the Missionary Baptist Church.

The road follows an old Indian path through Rich Mountain Gap into Townsend. The views are impressive. One of the spots along the overlook gives you a good view of the little Baptist Church. Needless to say, it's a favorite among photographers.

The National Park Service closes the road in the winter. Its closed to RVs and campers for a reason. Drivers will also experience ruts and some run off if it's rained recently. Rich Mountain Road is dirt and gravel for the full seven miles and can be rough in places. You won't need a 4x4 but you will need to exercise common sense.

However; those who decide to explore this part of the Smokies will find the experience to be worth the effort. Some of the most beautiful views of Cades Cove are on this road. Plan on taking at least an hour for the drive. If you like to take photos, plan on spending more than an hour.

Rich Mountain Road is one-way outbound only. Seeing the rest of the Cades Cove Loop will require another visit. Early morning visitors to the cove may have the opportunity to go back and finish exploring. My suggestion is to take time to see the "quiet side of the Smokies" called Townsend and head back to Cades Cove the next day.

The next stop for those who are on the Cades Cove Loop Road is the Missionary Baptist Church. You'll find the building almost across the street from Rich Mountain Road.